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February 2020

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David gathered his family and followers near a cave near the city of Adullam (which was where David wrote Psalm 142 and possibly 57). David then runs to Moab (establishing a strong hold at what is now known at Masada – 1 Sam 22:4) since his great-grandmother was from there and the Moabite king was probably interested in supporting a rebel king of Israel. Saul’s pursuit, however, keeps David on the move (including through Keliah, En Gedi, and finally Ziklag, David’s camp until he moved to Hebron and became king). David continued to attract men discontent with Saul’s uneven rule while Saul further appeals to tribal jealousies in suggesting that only he would likely favor his fellow poor Benjamites (rather than the son of Jesse) and claimed David was a revolutionary and not merely a fugitive. The priest Doeg turned in Ahimelech for helping David. During his own defense, Ahimelech in declaring the innocence of ignorant and faithful, defends David by asking Saul who is more faithful to him than David. Saul orders the death of all priest and their families, but only Doeg complies seeing further opportunity to win the king’s favor (only one priest of the 85 slain survives, Ahimelech’s son Abiathar – mentioned in Mark 2:26 with the incident of David eating the temple bread). This was partial fulfillment of the prophesized judgment against Eli’s house (2:27-36) and probably required the movement of the tabernacle from Nod to Gibeon, where it next appears (1 Chr 16:39 and 1 Kings 3:4). Abiathar had brought the ephod and is protected by David. He becomes David’s faithful priest (to eventually divide the country with Abiatha descendant of Mosses as the 10-tribes Northern priest and Zadok of Judah and descendant of Aaron as the 2-tribes Southern priest, who probably should have had the job alone – I think instead of bringing the two sides together, having two priests brought greater attention on the divergence), so “faithful” that he is not the one to bring David’s sin with Bathsheba to his attention (done by the prophet Nathan) and later joins David’s eldest son Absalom into sinful revolt against God’s chosen next king of Solomon (who later, of course banishes him). Close friendships and working relationships don’t always mix. Even though Saul could not find David, Jonathan locates him, affirms his kingship, and reconfirms the bond between them. With his military command, Jonathan could have been a serious rival to David. Instead he abdicates all authority.

The nation turned to David and not their king for deliverance from the Philistines (as Saul had not fought them for some time), but having a match between skills and needs does not by themselves make a ministry of God and David took the time to seek the will of God on whether he was supposed to deliver Keliah. Today’s popular church strategy to identify gifts in order to know the will of God (sort of a function that follows our form) seems backwards (we all know what happens when we assume). Not only did Sullivan teach us that “form follows function” (and not the other way around), but in the book "How Buildings Learn, What Happens After They're Built," Stewart Brand captures the history and evolution of numerous buildings to demonstrate even for the non-architect how buildings must adapt and constantly be refined and reshaped by their occupants. This is likewise true for our bodies as temples for the Spirit. Just because he had memorized the Bible, was committed to people in need (even building a job placement center and homes for the elderly and retarded), and was a charismatic speaker didn’t mean David Keresh (or Vernon Howell) was qualified to be a spiritual leader. Compare David’s faith with Saul who, like a bull in a china shop, was willing to destroy an entire Jewish town for any chance to capture David. David tests his assumptions by asking God whether Saul would come to Keilah and if the people would betray him and he received a “yes” answer to both questions. David’s narrow escape provides the historical background for Psalm 54, “for He had delivered me from all my troubles.”

The Pharisees also professed to the best guides and shepherds of the people even though Jesus had charged them in the last chapter of choosing not to see and thusly being unqualified to lead the people. Jesus proceeds in John 10 to describe the character of a true shepherd (and uses Himself as an example). He tells them that one cannot enter the “sheepfold” on just the duties of teaching and guarding the flock but only by the influences of the Spirit of Jesus. Jesus calls those who claim to be pastors only by ambition and not under His appointment to be thieves and robbers. We have become a people much like those in the days of Christ, so lame and trained to follow any keeper with the utmost docility (and political correctness). How great is our need for a true Shepherd who will gather the strays from the unfenced tempting fields to every side. Many adventures in our spiritual lives are not unlike the wild beast recounted by David that boldly attacked his flock even in his presence (when he often put his life on the line to protect his flock). Compare with Jeremiah 23:1 and Ezekiel 34:2-3.

David fought both a lion and a bear in order to protect the sheep entrusted into his care. If sheep were ever killed, the shepherd was required to produce evidence that the loss had not been his fault (Exodus 22:13). The One Year Bible Companion asks the question today, “What is the difference between the good shepherd in John 10:11, the great shepherd in Hebrews 13:20, and the chief shepherd in 1 Peter 5:4?” It answers, “The good shepherd died for his sheep, the great shepherd conforms the sheep to his image, and the chief shepherd is coming again with his reward for the sheep. The good shepherd’s work is finished, the great shepherd’s work is in the present, and the great shepherd’s work is in the future.” In being our good shepherd, Jesus’ sacrifice was voluntary (“no one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord”), total (He put aside his glory as God the son to enter our world as a vulnerable baby as per Philippians 2:1-11, experienced being forsakened as per Matthew 27:46, and shouldered the entire wrath of God’s hate for our sin), and beneficial (1 Peter 3:18). The word shepherd is also used with reference to congregational leaders metaphorically (and not as a title) to feed (1 Peter 5:2, Acts 20:28, John 21:16) and to care (1 Peter 5:1, Acts 20:17) for the flock. In addition, in John 21:15-17, the entire church seems to be the context when Jesus tells Peter three times to shepherd his sheep. The terms of elder (or pastor) and bishop (or overseer) is linked with the divine being and action of caring for souls of their sheep, but these sheep are not their own as they belong to the Chief Shepherd. It is important for elders to be committed to unanimous agreement on His will before acting (like David does in Keliah) – God has only one will.

The Pharisees and scribes sought wealth, office, and ease at the expense of the people and so well deserved being called thieves and robbers. This is also true for most of our religious leaders today. Although it is federal law that all non-profit corporations must release to the public their five top salaries, few religious organizations comply. Jesus’ words in Mark 10:21 seem clear enough: “One thing you lack: go and sell all you posses, and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven, and come, follow Me.” Kenneth Copeland asserts, however, that God personally revealed to him that this verse actually promises earthly, monetary dividends and says, “This was the biggest financial deal that young man had ever been offered, but he walked away from it because he didn’t know God’s system of finance.” Benny Hinn, Morris Cerullo, etc. likewise all live in million dollar estates with gold plated transports. Joyce Meyers is the most popular woman evangelist today (and brags about her poor education), but she personally keeps 90% of the $100 million per year her ministry draws and her 10,000 square-foot home and $2 million car are but a few of her prized possessions. “But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men.” 1 Timothy 6:9-12, “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang. But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.”

David supposedly composed Psalm 113-118 on his death bed (at about the age of 70). Psalm 113-114 is sung before the Passover meal and Psalms 115-118, and 136 are sung after. Psalm 115 provides a glorification of the Lord, a comparison with the utter impotence of idols and false gods, and a litany of trust and blessing in the Lord. While the people of the OT were given little revelation concerning death, passages like verse 17 were not talking about the cessation of existence but only that the dead have left the sphere of early activities (compared with the spheres of heaven and silence), the highest of which is to praise the Lord. Hallelujah is Hebrew for “praise the Lord.”

1 Samuel 22-23:29

Wow, David had to have been some leader. If I saw these guys coming toward me, I would be running for the “Border.” I know that I’m quick to check out the “character” of those hanging around me and I usually inch away from folks who are the type of people that flocked to David. Rebellious people will usually rebel against you so it would take intense mentoring to guide a group like this.

2 And everyone in distress or in debt or discontented gathered to him, and he became a commander over them. And there were with him about 400 men.

I find it quit interesting that David uses his father’s connection to the Moabites to protect his mother and father. David’s father, Jessie, was the grandson of Ruth (Ruth 4:17). Because David sends his parents to stay in Moab before the Saul has the priest’s killed, David undeniably had a keen understanding of the lengths Saul would go to kill him and his family.

Saul’s promises of special privileges, implied or direct, had been used with his army as a motivational “tool” to get someone to kill Goliath, but Saul seemed to be someone who didn’t or wouldn’t keep his word. In the twenty-second chapter, he uses the carrot again to get people to pursue and fight an ungodly fight, the pursuit of David at all cost,

7 "Listen here, you men of Benjamin!" Saul shouted when he heard the news. "Has David promised you fields and vineyards? Has he promised to make you commanders in his army? 8 Is that why you have conspired against me? For not one of you has ever told me that my own son is on David's side. You're not even sorry for me. Think of it! My own son--encouraging David to try and kill me!"

Saul doesn’t appeal to his men’s sense of “righteousness” but he appeals to their emotions by throwing a pity party, a poor me gripe session. If we take this scenario and place it in today’s churches, we can use it as a guide to evaluate appeals by unscrupulous “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” I believe a call to spiritual arms should never be based on emotion and sentiment so an appeal to consider, “Poor me as I suffer for the Lord,” should cause the ringing of bells and blowing of whistles to go off in one’s head. If Israel represented a type of the church then, our churches hold the capacity and potential to be just as ruthless and deadly as Saul. But for God and the fact that David had not served the purpose God had created him for, we would never be reading this wonderful story about David.

"For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. (Acts 13:36). Our obedience to the will of God is what keeps us alive and if we are not severing our purpose, God’s mercy holds us back from the grave.

John 10:1-21

This chapter is jammed pack with stuff. Jesus is the gate, the gatekeeper, the shepherd, the Good Shepherd. He is the go to guy for all of our needs.

This verse is powerful, “10 The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness,” and sets every other belief system at odds with Jesus. Jesus emphatically states that anyone other than He is a crook and a murderer and He is ”intolerant” to anything else. I guess Jesus is a Politically Incorrect man and God.

This passage contains the words that should stop everyone and anyone looking to blame Jesus’ crucifixion on a specific group of people.

17 "The Father loves me because I lay down my life that I may have it back again. 18 No one can take my life from me. I lay down my life voluntarily. For I have the right to lay it down when I want to and also the power to take it again. For my Father has given me this command."

The writer of Hebrews even states, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (12:2)” What was the joy set before Jesus? Our redemption from sin, death, hell and the grave.
Psalm 115:1-18

Idols are dead things which cannot move, who cannot do anything for us. We have to carry our idols around; well most of the things we worship we must carry around. I find the most damning thing in this particular division of Psalm is verse 8 (my paraphrase) “We become what we worship, we take on the characteristics of the thing we give our adoration too. That is a sobering thought. Flip that thought or statement over and one could say, “I can tell who or what your God is by observing who you are!”

8 And those who make them are just like them,
as are all who trust in them.

Who am I, what are the fruit of my worship?

Proverbs 15:18-19

19 A lazy person has trouble all through life; the path of the upright is easy!

This is the first time I’m seeing this in this particular verse, but I know people who have bad things happen to their bad things. And I just realize the ones that I know really well, are lazy. They might not be lazy physically, but they refuse to use common sense in living their lives. They want someone else to tell them what to do because they don’t want to be held accountable for their decisions, “It not my fault I so and so told me to do it this way. They refuse to expend the time and energy to search for wisdom. Wow and boy oh boy or boy. Do I see me in all of this?

Grace and peace,

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