But Now… Pray like all Get-Out!

chick sword

Psalm 74:6

But now they break down the carved work thereof at once with axes and hammers.

Psalm 74 is a psalm written in a time of great affliction and is given for instruction to the church as to what we should do in the day of trouble.

Pray like all get out!

I had to look “all get out” up to make sure it wasn’t a Shari colloquialism. Turns out it’s in Miriam Webster Dictionary defined as ‘to the utmost conceivable degree.’ And that’s just how the church needs to be praying.

Christ didn’t die for a social club

While the church in the Bible was being physically accosted the modern day church is being spiritually accosted by Satan and his band of demonic forces. The Psalmist complained that they were mutilating the artistically hewn woodwork with axes as though it were no more than a tree in the forest. That’s a pretty good analogy to what’s happening to us spiritually. The church garners no respect from the world, it’s no more than a “business” in the eyes of many in the secular world, serving no other purpose than to entertain or socialize; all the while tearing at the very heart of God’s design which is to get people saved.

Christ didn’t die for a family reunion

Well, I guess technically He did in the fact that He wants reunited with His children in Heaven, but I’ve seen enough “Our four and no more” churches  to last me a life time. If you don’t understand that concept you’re not alone, I don’t either! But there are many congregations that see no need to evangelize or encourage church growth because their four already attend. To encourage growth would upset the balance and bring new ideas into it; and they’ll have no part of it. Truth or no?

Christ didn’t die for the “warm and fuzzies”

That will certainly pack a pew! But that’s all it does. It brings no conviction of the soul and the fact that we are sinners separated from the Creator who loved us enough to die for us, and He expects no less from us through the death to ourselves and the dedication to Him. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Satan’s axes are not the tools of the trade the Psalmist complained of. Satan’s axes are the invisible vices that cause churches to lay down their swords (bibles and biblical truths) and still believe they’re protected from harm. It’s not the buildings that are being torn down, it’s the men and women of God who genuinely want to serve Christ. It’s hard day after day after day to tell friends and families of their need to be saved and be looked upon as a religious freak.

But that’s okay… The great thing about being a religious freak in Christ Jesus, is there is no ax nor sword nor any other weapon that can tear this body down in Spirit. Woot Woot!!! That’ll put a shout on you. We need to keep on keepin’ on friends of faith! Satan is working overtime because he knows what we should know… his days are numbered.

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Pray without ceasing.

…. That’s with all get-out!

 

But now… I get it God

chick winner

I wish I could say that quicker. Meaning that I wish that I got “it” (the understanding of God’s plan) earlier. I wish that when I was facing a struggle in my life back here, I could see “waaaay” out there and understand why I must go through what I’m going through. If I’d be honest with myself I usually know why; it’s because I’m stupid. I sin, I don’t wait on God, I design my life and then ask for God’s stamp of approval. That’s not how God works. God allows me to go ahead and play house with my life and then He comes in, moves all my furniture out and leaves me sitting with nothing and starting from scratch.

That wasn’t really the case with Job. He was a good man, he trusted God, he prayed and sacrificed, went to church three times a week, gave to the widows fund and bought Girl Scout cookies every time they came to the door. He did not deserve this treatment! I don’t’ want to make light of Job’s issues of life, lest I might face even one of them and crumble to my knees crying for mercy. What Job went through I can’t fathom, nor do I want to. But it still didn’t change the fact that you never assume you’re without sin.

In the final “but now” of Job’s life he gets it. He now understands that he was a part of a bigger plan, one that would still have us talking 4,000 years later. Is that not amazing!

Job 42:5

I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

I get it God. Not only did Job get it, he gave it.

He gave the repentance necessary to heal his relationship with the Lord. Job was a righteous man, but he was not a sin free man. During his days of despair in the worst of it all, as his wife forsook him, his friends ridiculed him and his body was racked with misery, he questioned God. I would have too and likely worse than that. But in the end Job tells God, I’m sorry. And at God’s urging so did the three Awful Amigos.

And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.

Job had spoken what was right? Complaining doesn’t surprise God, and He’s up to it. But self-righteousness, nope… He’ll have no part of it. Job’s sin wasn’t the complaining, it was that he didn’t think he’d sinned, and he had. The bible is clear that there is “None Righteous.” But we can get in that mode can’t we? We know we’re sinners, but we’re not as bad as “they” are. We’re quick to say when a sinner falls that “we seen it coming.” But when we fall… “why on earth did that happen!”

Maybe because of sin, or maybe because it’s a part of a plan “waaaay out there” that will have us standing in awe of the great things God has done.

I don’t like trouble, aches, pains or heartaches. But it is those very things that usually draw us to God and drive us to our knees acknowledging Who it is that’s in charge of the universe. Just as the abrasive sanding down of a piece of wood brings out the grain of artistic beauty, so does the troubles in our life. Everything we go through now has us in a position to encourage a brother or sister in Christ to hang on, they’ll make it too!

Job’s friends repented, but not until God called them out on it. Learn from Job, go first… God’s first place rewards are way better!!!

But Now… that’s not My song

Chick knows

Job 35:10-15

But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night; Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men. Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.  Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him. But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity:

So today is not about me… again. But I thought it was when I lay in bed this morning arguing with God that I was growing weary of this “but now” series. My Attention Deficit Disorder thought there was likely something shinier I needed to be looking at. Ha! God said. My Word always shines!

So last night I’m sitting at home and I get an unusual call from a fella who’s near and dear to me, but the last thing he usually wants to discuss is church; because he knows I’ll be on him like white on rice. But this time he’s on me. Sunday morning, when I was where I was, and he was where he was, he’d seen a video on one of the cable music channels. He had previously heard this song on a local radio station, but this time it had images to go with it and a purpose; and none of it was good. The song is titled “Take me to Church” and can be found on Youtube by clicking the song title. I don’t recommend it if you’re squeamish, but it was needful for he and I to see it, because God had a message for us both.

I quickly skimmed the song facts before returning my friends call to answer as to “what I thought of the song.” The song was successful in that it’s intended design was to slam Christianity. The singer, Andrew Hozier Byrne, was quoted on songfacts.com

Written in the wake of a breakup with his first girlfriend, this is both a love song and a contemplation of sin, drawing influence from the late atheist writer Christopher Hitchens. Hozier described it to The Guardian as, “a bit of a losing your religion.

I found it odd that he was quoting an atheistic view point, but capitalizes the name of God in his article, as if God were someone. Well, He is Someone. But He’s not who they characterize in the video. The song criticizes the oppression of gay people in Russia and is said by Hozier that it’s not “an attack on faith.”

Well, this seriously isn’t an attack on Hozier, because he’s not the one responsible for that song. He was a tool, and mightily used by Satan himself. The friend who called was not affectionate of gay people. As a matter of fact, you would more than likely find him either telling or laughing at a gay joke. He’s a red-blooded American boy brought up in the heart of the country. But this song struck a chord in him. The chord that it was intended to strike; the one that paints the church as a narcissistic governing body of people that preach hate.

So, I had some explaining to do. Because it is unfortunate that we are portrayed that way because of a few (by comparison to the numbers who don’t preach hate).

So back to the “But Now” scripture in Job that I whined to God about. Elihu, the “friend” of Job is he who speaks the words in scripture. He too touts to Job that it is obviously because of his wrong living that he has landed in these dire straights.

Elihu is not singing God’s song.

Neither are the religious that damn the homosexual. Because as it says in John 3:17 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” And the gay person is no greater a sinner than the drunkard or the glutton, yet they are all sinners and need redemption.

God does hear vanity, and He ain’t happy

Elihu said that surely God will not hear vanity, insinuating that Job was being self-centered because of his suffering. Really, Christian folk do that? Yes! Every time we fail to hear the cry of a hurting soul because of their sin, thinking that they “brought their suffering upon themselves,” it is we who are vain and stand in the place of God, judging.

Judgment will come… on the sinner and the church folk too

As I said before, this isn’t about Hozier. He needs to know that Jesus loves him. But what Satan meant this song to do is convince him that Jesus hates him, and that’s a lie right out of the pits of Hell. Christian’s who preach hatred will have their day before God. I’m not saying they’re lost, because Christian people make bad decisions and God doesn’t throw them out of Heaven for it. But they will stand before an Almighty and Powerful God and answer as to why they drove someone away from Jesus.

But Now… God’s song is “Jesus loves me this I know.”

Click on the song link and give the Devil his due!

But Now… a little LIP service please

chick lip service

Job 16:5-7

But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief. Though I speak, my grief is not asswaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased? But now he hath made me weary: thou hast made desolate all my company.

It appears that the winner of the “But Now” award would go to Job. There is still a few more “but now’s” in his book and there is no doubt in my mind that we all feel like we’re suffering the afflictions of Job in our life occasionally. Although in reality ours are likely none to compare, but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. We still have issues and we still serve a God who cares as much about us as He cared about Job. Scary thought though, because look at what He allowed Job to suffer at the hands of Satan.

In these verses I can hear Job’s frustrations with everyone!

There are days when I get into a Job mode and would “like” to say, “But Now, just shut-up and  go away.” I’m tired of listening to Satan, I’m tired of listening to “negative nelliies”, I’m tired of listening to myself! I think that’s where Job had gotten to at this point. His friends had all but driven him to violence and he just wished they’d go away. But even if they went away, Job would still be there in his miseries. So what’s a fella to do?

In reading chapter 16 it’s another dissertation of doom, and Job is crying with voice and tears that he’s aged far beyond his years, he’s been forsaken by all and done nothing to deserve such agony. He has friends who are arrogant idiots  He feels as though he’s been trampled to death by giants and death will come as a relief, but he gives one last plea in verses 21-22,  “Will somebody please pray!”

O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour! When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.

Today may or may not be a “Job” kind of day for you; so you are either the prayee, or the prayer. But you’re one or the other. I think we’ll be shocked when we get to Heaven and God plays the movie reel of our life where we discover what we’ve been spared, or how we’ve been encouraged because of the petitions of a friend, or the prayer of an unknown. There are prayer warriors out there who utter the prayers of saints, they know not who, but  they know someone’s in need.

Prayer is a failed resource. I know it is in my life.  I’m the Job, I’m the crier, o woe is me! I know prayer warriors; I’ve called on them. But even that is a rarity with me because I want everyone to think I’m fine. Besides the “Dear God, I’m stupid,” theme song, my other one is “I’m fine.” It’s what I tell everyone who asks how I am because I either don’t  think they really care, or if they do really care and I don’t want them to know because I’ll then be their burden.

I may need to add a new theme song into the mix… “Are you crazy?”

Job’s friends did need to shut up and pray. It’s the one time we need to give lip service as children of God.

Listen, Intercede, Petition

Listen to what someone says.

Intercede on their behalf.

And petition God for their needs.

We’ll all need it someday, and someone will return the favor. Maybe someone you don’t even know.

But Now… Watch how you EAT (Dieters beware)

Chick way

Job 4:5

But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.

I have to wonder how many times in my life I’ve been as indifferent to people as Job’s “friend” Eliphaz was toward Job’s afflictions. Leading into his dissertation of demise he asks Job if its okay if they fellowship together (vs. 1) If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? Followed by, “It really doesn’t matter because I just can’t keep my mouth shut.” (vs 2) but who can withhold himself from speaking?

Lessons from someone else’s stupidity: (it doesn’t always have to be our own)

Eliphaz didn’t even wait to see of Job was up to a visit; in his arrogance he just plodded on believing that his presence and opinion were more important than this friend’s issues. Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Eliphaz and Shari should be so wise; but he nor I will ever be found guilty of “overthinking” what we say. I do however hope that I have enough sense to glean a lesson from Eliphaz using the acronym E.A.T.

Do ENCOURAGE

Before you go to your friend… take your conversation to God.

I have a feeling if Eliphaz would have gone to God and said, “Lord, I’m just letting you know that I’m gonna go line Job out for You today. I have heard enough of his poor me story,” that God would have lined Elephaz out before he left. It’s not our job to “line anyone out” but we certainly take on that role sometimes. It may be our job to encourage or instruct, which Eliphaz acknowledged Job had done in his life when he said in verses 3 and 4 “Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.

Don’t ASSUME

(Vs. 5) But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.

Eliphaz assumed that it wasn’t nearly as bad as Job was making it out to be saying “it toucheth thee” as if were a light thing. Those happened to be the very words that Satan used in Job 1:11; 2:5. It was no small thing that Satan had done! He had taken Job’s family, covered his body with boils, destroyed his wealth and left him with a wife that told him to curse God and die, and through it all Job stays faithful. But even if it hadn’t been “that bad.” What if Job just had just lost his job, or lost one family member? Who are we to assume that we understand the issues of that person’s life? Those issues may be far greater than we ever imagined and not evident on the surface.

Nor can we assume that the issues of their life was brought upon them because they’re reaping what they sowed.

Eliphaz asked Job (vss. 6-7) Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?  Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?

Our ways are not God’s ways. – Isaiah 55:8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

Do TREAT them as if it were You

The reason for the acronym, tomorrow that may be on our plate.

But now… what how you eat!

But Now… Somebody get my fiddle!

chick fiddler2 Kings 3:15

But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.

One thing that will almost assuredly bring joy to my soul is music. And stringed music that much more; it’s the basics that I love. So my “But Now” verse for today was literally music to my ear when I see the Lord setting the stage for victory through a bluegrasser! (Yes I know that’s a stretch, but a girl can dream can’t she?) Although it was harp that was played, it was still the foundation for the fiddle that would come along in the 16th century. And it matters not to me what particular instrument but rather the fact that God used it and my favorite thing in the world (the Word of God) together.

To set the stage for you in this text, it is the story of two Kings, normally at odds with one another. But this day they had formed an allegiance against a common enemy. King Jehoram of Israel met with Jehoshaphat king of Judah and together they met with the king of Edom and made this agreement in 2 Kings 3:7-8

And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled against me: wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: I am as thou art, my people as thy people, and my horses as thy horses. And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom.

But as they traveled, 7 days into the journey they ran out of water and then began to wonder if it was God’s will at all for them to go to this battle, and whether or not He had set them up to get them killed!

10 And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!

Ha! can I relate to that one. Halfway down any road in life I’ve asked myself that question, so you’ll find me throwing no stones at the kings. But here they are at the crossroad of battling Moab or tuckin’ their tales and turning home and they decide to seek the wisdom of God, which would come through, at that time, a man of God named Elisha. They’re not as privileged as we who are saved today and seek God’s wisdom from within.

I love Elisha’s response when they arrive to ask him to seek God for them; he has to get at least one jab in to the king of Israel who at that time worshipped other gods. He promptly tells him if it wasn’t for his buddy he’d not give him the time of day. That’s Shari quoted… read it for yourself…

14 And Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.

Elisha preached it like it was, and the king of Israel did not take him to a happy place. But here comes the fiddle! Okay it was a harp. But before Elisha gives them an answer he needs to set the tone for worship and he does that through stringed music. The rest of the story, they find water and they win the battle through the hand of God!

The lesson here? Before any battle, be it of flesh or foe we need to seek the Lord and we need to do so with a heart of worship. The Battle is His alone. Elisha set his mind on the things above by using the tools below. We have them at our disposal… we just fail to use them. One of my favorite fiddle pieces that would cause Squire Parsons to grimace at the least is “Beulah Land.” Oh…. I have but to lay my bow to the string and draw the first note before God enters my presence… I think He likes Squire’s song too.  Are you facing a battle and needing an answer? I suggest you take Elisha’s advice and call the minstrel, and make sure it’s a song God likes…

But now… Somebody get my fiddle.

But Now… Isn’t that Special

chick under His wings

1 Kings 5:4

But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.

It was his father David’s desire but Solomon’s task to get the temple in Jerusalem built, and build it he would in a splendor that my mind cannot imagine. There was many factors as to why Solomon was God’s man for the job but one factor was the factor of absence. The absence of the Devil. Not that he wasn’t in existence during Solomon’s reign and very evident through idol worship; but when it came to the temple Solomon said that there was “rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.”

Wow! To live in such a day where I did not feel Satan’s presence around me, that would be splendiferous would it not? This morning I awoke with the aches and pains of the day, frustrations, concerns and disappointments weighing on my mind. A to do list that grows longer by the minute and my next “But Now” verse is my buddy Solomon bragging about how wonderful his life is. In the words of my favorite Christian comedian Chonda Pierece “Well isnt’ that special.” I cannot remember the last time I felt “rest on every side”, if there has ever even been a day like that. Today is certainly not one.

Solomon’s rest on every side did not mean he was without the adversary messing in his life. John Gil’s expository on this verse breaks it down like this:

1 Kings 5:4

But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side
From foreign enemies; for Solomon had no wars with any:

[so that there is] neither adversary;
or Satan, no internal enemy in his kingdom, as well as no external ones, Adonijah, Joab, and other ill-designing persons, being cut off:

nor evil occurrent;
nothing that rose up, and met him, to discourage or hinder the prosecution of the good work he had in view.

Reading this verse today in my state of mind caused me to cop an attitude with Jesus. Let me tell you… that’s not a good idea. But I was there this morning. “God, I’m glad it was workin’ out for Solomon, deed I am, but it’s not working out so well for me. I feel the adversary on every side and I feel the very presence of evil, so what am I supposed to do with Solomon’s wonderful “But now” moment?”

And God said read on…

I’ll be right back.

And so I read, and with tears in my eyes and a heart overflowing this was God’s response. In Chapter 6 God tells in great details of the work that He had done through Solomon building the temple. Again… far greater than my mind can imagine until I get to the room He created to house the ark of the covenant of the Lord. And then I got it…

Verse 19 reads “And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the Lord.”

And then above the ark in verse 27 He describes the cherubims:

And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house.”

The world outside the temple was not without the adversary Satan stirring, but the world within was pure and holy. And God reminded me this morning that He has a work to do in my life. And where He dwells, is not in a room built by any man, but by the blood of Jesus Christ Who now dwells within the throne room of my heart. I am under His wings! It is because of that that I too have rest on every side because He is there.  Now that is special!!!!

God told Solomon Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father:” And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel. (I Kings 6:12-13)

Solomon finished the temple in 7 years and then began his own home. God’s temple is finished through our Salvation in Christ Jesus alone, but there’s still plenty of work to do at home and we’ll have rest on every side if we walk in His path.

But Now… get busy

chick Anointed

2 Samuel 12:19-24

19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead. 20 Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. 21 Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. 22 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? 23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. 24 And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the Lord loved him.

I somehow or another missed this verse in the “But Now Series” so we’re back tracking one in the order that this will be a thorough study. And it’s not one to be missed for a few reasons. The story of David and Bathsheba’s affair was certainly not one of David’s stellar moments. I find it more than a little interesting that the greater portion of “But Now” moments have involved David, we’ll see if that plays out until the end; but it won’t surprise me that it does. Who better for Satan to attack than the man after God’s own heart? If he’s going to ruin a testimony he’s going to ruin one of the most talked about individuals in the community. So before we cast a stone at the fallen child of God, do you know what God’s plans were for them? They might have been a great and mighty soldier for the cross, but for being human. Satan doesn’t attack the ne’re-do-well, how would that help his cause? He attacks someone who really wants to do the right thing, but gets distracted by something beautiful and thinks… maybe just once.

But “once” had a tiny little face and David loved it, but the baby died.

And in this “But now” story David has confused his servants. When the child was sick David refused to eat and wept in great sorrow, “but now” that the child had died, David got up, got dressed and went on about the business of the day. It wasn’t that he was heartless or without mourning, for it says he comforted his wife. And I’m sure in the privacy of their home they still shed tears, but this day David knows that nothing can be done to change God’s mind, and it’s time to go on.

Be it in life and death, life and a career, life and a marriage or life and something else we’ve lost, we have to stop the mourning.  The reason it happened may or may not have been any of our own, but we have the answer; it’s done and we can’t undo it. I have had more than a few of those moments in my life, but I’m not nearly so smart as David. I want to wallow in it for a day, a month, a year… What about you?

Is there something that God has said “It’s over,” and you just won’t let it be? How about today we clean ourselves up, anoint ourselves (putting on the Word of God) and get back in the business of serving and worshiping God as He deserves. I can’t believe I almost missed this “But Now” experience. All Satan had to do was get a computer program to un-bold one word and I missed it, but God knew we needed it. So here are… but now… get busy.

But Now… it’s no small thing that I’m stupid

chick stupid

I Chronicles 21:8

And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.

My first thought when I read that prayer of David’s was, “Wow… how many times have I said that?” Only mine was more along the lines of “Oh God, I’m so stupid!” But it was just a little sin, right? All David did was count his people, it really does sound harmless; but  the problem with that is, nothing that God tells us “not” to do is harmless and without repercussions. As I type that I think about my life and all the things I know He’s told me not to do and I did them anyway. In the words of that famous comedian “The devil made me do it.” No, he suggested I do it, and I said, “Okay.” Satan made the suggestion to David as well in verse 1 of this chapter when we read “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” And David said, “Okay.”

It was not the numbering that bothered God, it was the pride of David’s heart. David was numbering the people because he wanted to know his assets and just exactly what it was he’d be bragging about around the water cooler on Monday morning. “His” assets, not God’s. He wasn’t viewing the people as a blessing, he was viewing them as his own accomplishment. What exactly is it that causes us to say “okay” when Satan gives us a really bad idea. Pride. When I go off on my own without God’s approval, I’m pretty much telling God that I can do it by myself. That always works so well for me… NOT!

When I think about all the bad decisions I’ve made, they all boil down to pride and my repentance was necessary but it usually didn’t stop the cause and effect. Seventy thousand men died in Israel because of David’s pride. That’s how serious God is about it. So what are we to do when those “Oh God, I’m stupid moments” come upon us? Make yourself an altar and wait for the fire to fall from Heaven.

1 – Get’r done.

David didn’t have the time to go to Gibeon where he generally made an offering, he wanted to get this issue resolved quickly! Don’t hesitate and delay getting it right with God. It only prolongs the inevitable and leaves you out of the will of God that much longer. Scary!

2 – God wants to see sacrifice

He bought an area from Ornan the Jebusite to build the altar. Ornan offered to give it to him, but David refused his philanthropy and paid the price. Ornan offered to give David the meat offering as well and David responded  “Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings without cost.”

God doesn’t need our sacrifice, be it monetarily or materialistically, but it shows we’re serious. It shows that we’re putting nothing between our relationship with Him.

3 – Get ready to receive His blessing

26 And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the Lord; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering.

David had messed up, he knew it and he wanted to do everything in his power to make it right, but there came a time when he had to wait again for God to say He was pleased. God answered from heaven by fire. It’s no different today. We know when we’ve finally made it right with God when we feel that fire in our soul.

I pray the “Oh God, I’m stupid” prayer far more often than I should. Once is more often than I should. But I am ever so glad that God takes care of stupid people. Amen!

But now… it’s time for you to step aside

chick ste

2 Samuel 18:3

But the people answered, Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that thou succour us out of the city.

A hard lesson in leadership is to step aside when there is someone better suited for the job. Even harder still is when it’s something that you’re passionate about and you have a goal in mind that you’d like to see accomplished. Such was the case as David and his army prepared to battle Absalom. Their goal as an army was to destroy the enemy whose goal was to take out David; for without David in leadership they knew his army would likely fall apart.  David’s love for Absalom governed his heart and he had ask the troop leaders to “Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom” (Vs. 5)

It wasn’t that David didn’t want what God wanted when he made the request for them to spare Absalom, David was a man after God’s own heart. But just like the rest of us, our passions can sometimes cloud our vision and prevent us from seeing what those around us see clearly.

David’s comrades knew that same truth, that without him in leadership they’d be in trouble. It would be much safer for them all if he was not in the battle. David loved Absalom, but that love was not reciprocated and Absalom would have killed his father in a minute.

Matthew Henry once said that “Wisdom teaches us to make the best of the strength we have, and let it reach to the utmost.” Sometimes the strength we have lies in the leadership around us.”

Absalom was killed and David’s heart was broken.

32 And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is.

33 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!

God’s plans don’t always go as we’d like. But David’s clouded leadership didn’t see the vantage point of God that would have likely lead to Absalom being a thorn in David’s side for years to come and undermining God’s design for Israel. His leadership understood it though. Joab finally had to step in again and bring David to his senses.

Chapter 19:5-7

And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines; In that thou lovest thine enemies, and hatest thy friends. For thou hast declared this day, that thou regardest neither princes nor servants: for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well. Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the Lord, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now.

I heard it once said that a church rises and falls on leadership. That’s a scary thought, and Like King David we sometimes need a reality check when our decisions are clouded by our passions. God loves passionate people! Just make sure it’s focused passion and that when there is someone better suited to get the job done, let your leaders shine!

FROM THE STUDY “BUT NOW”