Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Path to Self-Strength and Self-Significance

I Samuel 30:1-31

I call my sermon on this passage “The Ziklag Zenith.” The lessons are many and life changing. So many of us miss David’s grasp of these simple yet radical truths. We can’t seem to digest the reality of them even if we have heard of them! Ziklag was a small town in southern Judah. Its location is unknown to us, but it matters not. The great issues of life are never determined by where you are or how you got there, but by what God is doing in your life that will change you that will last forever!

These were critical days in the life of David and of God’s people. Times were uncertain; enemies were everywhere; and political tensions were at the highest level. Momentous events were happening almost daily. Sound familiar? David’s band of followers and their families were concerned about King Saul as well as the other pagan tribes that would attack them. Providence had brought David to Ziklag, and it was there that disaster struck.

While David and his men were away, the town had been attacked by the Amalekites. They stole all the goods, took all the wives, women, children, young and old into captivity and burned everything down. When the men returned, they were devastated and emotionally destroyed! As is usual in leadership, David was blamed for this by his rather sorry bunch of followers. (See verse 22.) Their grief was so great they thought of stoning David! It was an impossible situation. Think about your own “upsets” in life … your own Ziklags! Be assured they will come with varying severity and at unexpected times!

David’s answer to it all came from God. He did what true followers of the Master always do. He used truth’s conjunction: “But … David strengthened himself (found strength) in the Lord his God!” (I Sam. 30:6)

There are many directions before us for our own empowerment in the principles David demonstrated. They parallel Paul’s thoughts and actions in Philippians 4:10-13. Here are a few of David’s responses whether he was aware of them all or not.

I. David knew where to “find strength,” not in God in general, but in the Lord his God! He had a personal and vital relationship with Jahweh! With the Lord, David could handle the issue “on his own!” And so can we!

II. David practiced the process of “spiritual finding”:

A. He sought authority (30:7)

B. He inquired of authority (30:8a)

C. He listened to authority (30:8b)

D. He obeyed authority (30:9)

… and continued in the process of “spiritual enduring”

E. He persevered under authority (30:10)

F. He was guided by authority (30:11-16)

G. He risked because of authority (30:17)

H. He was rewarded by authority (30:18-20)

I. He possessed the grace of authority (30:21-24)

J. He left a heritage of authority (30:25)

K. He was generous in his authority (30:26-31)

III. David found his destiny “as a king” when he trusted the authority of God’s truth. The will of God is first a Person to seek and love before it is a duty or commandment to understand and do. “I Am” (love Me) the Lord thy God (obey Me) ….” (Ex. 20:2)

God’s Strength Means Being Significant for God’s Purposes

David soon became King of Israel (his place and time) and ruled in life while leaving one of the greatest heritages of any man who ever walked the earth. His significance for God far outweighed his sins as a man. Don’t make “the disciples biggest mistake” – seeing your sins as greater than the Savior’s sacrifice! Don’t allow your grief with your sin struggle to eclipse your gratitude for the Savior’s sacrificial salvation! The Lord has done far more for you (forgiveness) in the past than you have done against yourself (sinfulness). When you sin, and you will ‘till the day you die, use those sins as pointers to Christ’s Satisfaction for your sin. David was guilty of three of mankind’s greatest sins – adultery, murder and idolatry! (II Sam. 11; I Chron. 21)

The Lord knew all these things would happen in David’s life but chose him anyway as the future king! Amazing and fantastic! He knew the same about each of us but chose us anyway! Truly, a wondrous mystery! Only dense Disciples are more occupied with what they have done than with what the Lord has done! Think of David. He certainly suffered for his part in existing in a fallen world of mankind’s rebellion, but at the same time, he “found the strength” to see the truth and yield to it. He was a great Christ follower, not because he didn’t sin, but because he knew what to do about his sin! (Ps. 51)

Even though he was one of the Scriptures greatest sinners, be was the first one who the Lord called “a man after His own heart”! (I Sam. 13:14) The Disciple who “finds” the authority to see and experience this towering and splendid truth will live with the spiritual energy that overcomes the world! (John 16:33) One’s ultimate strength on earth is to find and possess the mind and heart of our Living Lord about and toward all things!

Wise is the Disciple who will learn David’s heart in the Psalms. Powerful is the Disciple who knows … really knows … that Christ Jesus is his God! These are the Disciples who will “reign in life” because they know how to “find their strength” in their Lord’s grace and righteousness. (Rom. 5:17)

Remember This Quick Triune Formula

We empower ourselves when we:

One Recognize Authority – Only truth is in charge! Seek it! Find it! Yearn for it! “Father, if You think it’s possible …”

Two Consult Authority – Only truth has your answers! Listen to it! Hear it! Yoke with it! “Let this cup pass from me …”

Three — Obey Authority – Only truth will deliver you! Do it! Faith it! Yield to it! “Nevertheless, Your will be done …”

(Matthew 26:39)

God’s Truth = Ultimate Authority

Truth works wonders as it changes you into a person who is adequate to handle every situation, issue or circumstance.

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