To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Are You A Refresher?

When the Lord was anticipating the return of His people, Judah, from captivity He promised that, I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint (Jer. 31:25). A part of the blessing that the Lord brings to His people is that of refreshment. As the gospel began to be preached in the New Testament, a similar promise was given to all who respond. Peter in his preaching encouraged his hearers to Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19). God very often uses his servants to bring this refreshment. Let us face then the challenging question: Are you being used as a refresher?

In 1 Corinthians 16:17-18, Paul writes of howI was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition. When we arrive in someone’s presence are they glad as a result or are they dispirited? What is the impact of our presence? From this brief reference we get the clear impression that these three believers, Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus, were natural refreshers. They not only refreshed Paul, but had a similar impact on the Christians at Corinth. The fact that Paul says that they should be recognised indicates that they were top quality people. It is good to have people like them in our lives and in our churches.. We need refreshers who encourage us to keep going in the walk of faith.

Onesiphorous was a man of similar character. Paul was so grateful for what he had done. Paul says of him that he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains (2 Tim. 1:16b). Onesiphorus put himself out for Paul. Do we do that for our brothers and sisters in Christ? Paul further says of him when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me (2 Tim. 1 v 17b). Here was true “brotherly love” being demonstrated. There seems to have been a consistency about this man, as well, because he had also helped Paul in may ways at Ephesus (see 2 Tim 1:18b). Oh for reliable Christians who are steadfast in their commitment to helping their fellow believers. Such people are true refreshers and a real blessing to the church.

As we ponder upon the character of refreshers let us hear what Solomon says: Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master. (Prov. 25:13). We live in a world where people are increasingly unreliable. “Who can you trust nowadays?” We sometime lament. What a joy it is then to come across reliable people. In the proverb quoted above, we see how refreshment comes from dealing with reliable people. The master is refreshed by a trustworthy messenger. The scripture gives us a very evocative image when it compares the refreshment from a trustworthy messenger to cool snow on a hot harvesting day. That is refreshing! Do we bring such refreshment to others through our trustworthy characters?

The most essential part of our being which needs refreshment in this weary world is our heart. When our hearts are refreshed then we can be strengthened to move forward for our God. It is good to be refreshed in body, but far better to be refreshed in the heart. Philemon was a heart-refresher. Paul writes to him “You, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lords’s people” (Phile. 7b). Through his prayer, care, exhortation and general being, Philemon had put fresh courage and vigour into the inner-most beings of God’s people. Could that be said of us? Such ministry starts when we ourselves have a deep love for the Lord and longing that other believers would walk strongly for Him.

We must ask the question here about how the refresher can be freshened himself. This is important because the danger is that someone who is always giving out refreshment gradually empties their tank and has no more refreshment in them to dispense. The necessary thing is that we are continually taking time out to be refreshed and renewed in the Lord’s presence. The Lord’s Day is a key gift from God to that end. In Exodus 23:12, we read Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed. Make good use of your Sundays to refresh your soul. But also embrace the principle of taking daily “time-out” with the Lord to be refreshed. Through our study of the Word and seeking of the LORD in prayer we refresh ourselves so we can refresh others.

It is worth noting though, in the gracious working of our God, that refreshers are also given refreshment. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed (Prov. 11:25). There is something refreshing about seeing weary souls refreshed. It is such a privilege to be a part of God’s renewing purposes.

Taken from Feltham Evangelical Church newsletter of  September 2012

Promises Promises Promises.

We have an utterly reliable God: He always keeps His promises. Everything that He has committed Himself to do, He has done. Joshua says this to the nation of Israel “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed (Josh. 23:14). What reassuring words these are for us today.

God keeps His promises For us, as New Testament Christians, we have even more reason to be sure of the reality of this. This is because, as Paul says to the Corinthians: For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God (2 Cor. 1:20). Christ our LORD fulfils all God’s promises to bless his people. Further Paul says to the Galatians: when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship (Gal. 4:4-5). The promise came first of all in the Garden of Eden, when the Lord says that the seed of the woman would crush the serpents (Satan’s) head (see Gen. 1:15). Prophecies, shadows, illustrations, patterns, pre-incarnate appearances are littered throughout the Old Testament and then He came. He came to fulfil all of God’s promises. He has come.

Moreover, Scripture promises that he will come again. Accordingly, the fact that every promise of the first coming has been fulfilled assures us of the fulfilment of every promise of His second coming. So we stand expectantly, excitedly and with godly fear waiting for the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. As we wait, we know that He who says He will come, will come, and will not delay.

We are blessed by His promises We must bind these great and precious promises to our own hearts. We must remember that God has said: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5b). Peter calls us to remember how His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life  through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1 v 3) Then we look to the future and hear our Saviour saying: Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? (John 14 v 1) How wonderful it is to be a Christian and believe these promises to the strengthening of our souls, knowing that our God never fails to keep his promises.

We should keep our promises  It should be that we, as His children, bear the family likeness. We should also be promise keepers. It is not always so because we live in a world of broken promises and unkept vows. And as God’s people we so easily fall prey to the way of the world. Moses says to the nation of Israel: This is what the Lord commands: When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said (Num. 30:1b-2). For us, as believers, all our words are to be of weight and therefore whenever we commit to anything it should always be implicit that we are binding ourselves to fulfil what we say. We learn this from the teaching of our LORD who in the context of taking oaths said: All you need to say is simply “Yes,” or “No”; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matt 5:37).

Sadly many of us are liars by default. We casually commit ourselves to something just to impress and put on a good face. If such is happening it means our commitments are meaningless because we never intend to carry through on these things. Such should not be so! Solomon in (Proverbs 12:22) says: The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

Are you known as someone who keeps their promises? If you make appointments, do you keep them? If you promise to do something, do you do it? If you reply to an invitation saying you will attend, then do you keep to that?. Of course circumstances sometimes change which means we cannot fulfil our promise. We can be thwarted; God never can. For us, we must let others know if we cannot be there; that is one way in which we show love.

Solomon wisely observes that When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfil your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfil it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God (Eccl. 5:4-7). May none of our words be meaningless. May people know that we are children of our Father because we, like him, keep our promises.

 

Taken and adapted from Feltham Evangelical Church newsletter of August 2012

Do you ever feel that your life is falling apart? Are you ever in a situation of wondering how you are ever going to get through some event you are anticipating? In the difficulties of life the non-Christian is cast upon the vagaries of what life throws at them. However, the Christian’s lot is so much more blessed. The Christian has a God whom they can rely on to protect them through all the rigours of life.

The Word of God says The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms (Deut 33:27a). When all around us there is turbulence and uncertainty, we can find a place of safety in our God. Our God is our dwelling place where we know warmth and protection. Notice the word does not say “was” or “shall be”; it says “is”. He always is our refuge. We do not have to wonder whether he will be there for us. Here is a promise of permanent security in our God in the midst of life’s troubles. Furthermore, He is our eternal God. There will never be a time when He will not be our God. Thereby there will never be a time when He will not be our refuge.

Jesus, my heart’s dear Refuge
has died for me;
Firm on the Rock of Ages
Ever my trust shall be.

But this God is also the One who has everlasting arms. It is not surprising that His arms are everlasting because He is eternal. So these arms are always there. Moreover, because He is the Eternal God, He is also always strong enough to bear all of our weight. Like a baby in the arms of his/her mother, there is never any doubt that these arms are strong enough to hold us.

Accordingly, we can think of ourselves with every potential problem and issue in life. We can think of the burdens that bear upon us and sometimes we feel are crushing us. Then we realise that underneath are the everlasting arms. When we fall under the strains and stresses of life, His arms are strong enough to bear us up. We can never fall into an abyss where everything falls and fails forever. We have everlasting arms that always will hold; they always will catch us. Never will our burdens prove to heavy for His arms.

To which you say “I do not always feel these things”. But the Lord’s promise here is unconditional; it is a statement of fact. Whether we feel it or not he is always our refuge and His arms are always there.

We raise then the question: will there ever be an end to these things? No, never! We are His; we belong to Jesus. And He, to whom we belong, says: I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand (John 10:28). These arms will never be removed and never will their strength diminish. Moreover He has promised to be with us always:

God has said,Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Heb. 13:5b-6)

How can we be assured that all this is true? We go to Calvary. We see our Saviour God, Jesus, there dying upon the cross. Here is love vast as the oceans. Here is the Son of God loving me and giving Himself for Me. Everlastingly we are safe in His refuge and held in His arms. The cross of Christ tells us that God is committed to us with such a passion that He gave of His best. He gave of his Son. And we are eternally blessed in Him.

So whatever, mental, emotional, physical or spiritual affliction shall come upon me I shall not fear. Let us go on knowing that His refuge is secure enough and His arms are strong enough for all our needs. And let us thankfully sing:

Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe from corroding care,
Safe from the world’s temptations;
Sin cannot harm me there.

Taken from Feltham Evangelical Church newsletter of July 2012

The response that we make to a rebuke reveals a great deal about us. It is quite easy to respond to someone who says encouraging or complimentary words to us. We are generally happy to receive such comments. However, when someone rebukes us we can feel affronted and very upset about what they say. So how should we respond to a rebuke?

Let us consider initially what a rebuke is. A rebuke is given when someone confronts us about something we have said or done. It can be given either out of love or malice.

The natural response to receiving a rebuke is to resent it. We say to ourselves: “what right have they to say anything about my behaviour.” The reason we respond in such a hostile way is because of pride. With pride in our hearts we resist anyone saying to us that we are wrong about something. A person may think their own ways are right (Prov. 21:2a) sums up the problem. Pride puts me at the centre of the universe. Pride is at the heart of all sin. It is so destructive because it dethrones God and enthrones me.

However, the way of wisdom is completely different. The wise person wants to learn so that they can live a more godly life. Accordingly we read in Proverbs that The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listens to advice (Prov. 12:15). Further, where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. (Prov. 13:10). And again, A rebuke impresses a discerning person more than a hundred lashes a fool. (Prov. 17:10). The fool just sticks with his own way and resents anyone who tells him otherwise. On the other hand the wise person is pleased to receive a rebuke because through it he is able to live a more godly life.

At this point we need to be careful to make clear that receiving a rebuke is not the same as embracing everything contained in a rebuke. What we have to do is sift the content of the rebuke so as to assess whether or not it is applicable to our situation. In this assessment it is also reasonable to consider the source of the rebuke and the manner in which it is given . So David could say: Let a righteous man strike me – that is a kindness; let him rebuke me – that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it (Ps. 141:5). A rebuke from a righteous man is likely to be full of beneficial content and I am wise to embrace it. We must, also, be strong enough to realise that sometimes our enemies have helpful things to say which can benefit us as well.

The worst thing we can do when given a rebuke is “fly-off-the-handle” or bear a grudge because the person giving the rebuke was so rude as to correct us. If you do this you potentially cut yourself off from a means of grace into your life. This is because it is unlikely that that person will come again to rebuke you. Thereby you could miss a means by which your life could be made to be more like Christ.

What are the attitudes that help us to respond helpfully to a rebuke.

  • Think about sin. I am a sinner. I am one who has failed to live up to God’s standards. My behaviour has been offensive to our great loving God. So rather than thinking about our achievements we are always thinking about His mercies. We remember it is because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed (Lam. 3:22a). I am far from perfect so I should expect rebukes.
  • Think about the cross. I am accepted by God on account of what Christ has done. I am not accepted on the basis of my achievements. If I believe my acceptance with God is based on what I have done I am always prone to self-justification. Faith in Christ frees me from all this. I rest in Christ not myself.
  • Think about godliness. If I long to have a life that is pleasing to God I will consider it to be a great thing to have someone rebuke me. Through that I may receive something that will help me to have a life conformed to the likeness of his Son (Rom. 8:29b).

The person who has much of sin, the cross and godliness in their minds will receive a rebuke well and make good use of it.

Let us then consider some pointers as to how to receive a rebuke well:

  • Thank the person giving the rebuke, for taking the trouble to speak to you about the issue.
  • Consider what they have said. (You may want to get someone else’s opinion about what has been spoken about). If you accept what has been said, then take action to alter your behaviour. If you reject what is said then you have lost nothing. You have, no doubt, benefited from having considered your ways.
  • Never say in response to the rebuke: “I only have to answer to the Lord”. This is super-spiritual nonsense. We do have to answer to the LORD, but we also have to answer to one another; that is what living in a Christian community means.

We need also to remember when someone rebukes us it is very likely it has cost them something. They have considered a matter and concluded that they need to approach you about it. They love you so much they are willing to speak to you about something. Do you despise their love so much as to respond sharply to their rebuke?

In living for Christ as churches we should expect that rebukes will be a part of our community life. The only teaching our Lord gave about the local church involved giving a rebuke: If your brother or sister sins go and point out their fault (Matt 18:15). We should, in particular, expect those who watch for our souls, elders in the church, to rebuke us. Paul tells the Thessalonians to respect those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you (1 Thess 5:12b).

So how godly are you? One of the best ways of testing how godly we are is in how we respond to a rebuke. The godly receive and assess a rebuke while the fool rejects. The words of Solomon Those who disregard discipline despise themselves but the one who heeds correction gains understanding (Prov. 15:32) puts all this in perspective. Oh that we would all be good rebuke receivers and Feltham Evangelical Church would be much blessed thereby.

Taken from Feltham Evangelical Church newsletter of June 2012

 

Heaven Is Not The Issue.

As Christians, we have marvellous things to look forward to. Heaven is our destiny and that is incredible. But when we are thinking of what we have to look forward to, are we right to concentrate on our expectation of being in heaven? When looking at the Scriptures it appears that the great longing of the people of God was not to be in heaven, but rather to be with the One who is our LORD and Saviour; Jesus Christ. To put it another way we can truly delight in looking forward to being in heaven. However, heaven is no heaven if there is no Lord Jesus there. So desiring to have heaven, but not longing to be with Christ is to fail to grasp the fullness of what God has in store for us.

As Christians we are now possessors of eternal life. John says Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life (John 3:36a). Eternal life is, in a sense, not something we look forward to, but something we have now. The essence of this new life is summed up by our LORD, in words used as He spoke to His Father, as being that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3). Eternal life is about us knowing God and Jesus Christ in a living relationship. Now through the life of faith we can know Jesus more and more. This relationship develops and strengthens through prayer and study of the Word, Thereby we can grow stronger and stronger in the possession of eternal life.

But one day this life of faith will be transformed into a life of sight. One day we will be caught away to be with our Saviour. Life now is about growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18a); this is how we enjoy eternal life now. When we are taken to glory the experience changes, but the goal does not. Although, in glory we will see our Saviour the goal of growing to know Him still remains. The fact that Jesus Christ should be the focus of our lives now and will be then is seen as wholly appropriate given that Peter continues by saying that to him be glory both now and forever! Amen (2. Pet. 3:18b).

When we look at the worship scene in heaven in Revelation 5, we see there the confirmation that Jesus is the centre of attention. John says: I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders (Rev 5:6a). And the massed ranks of redeemed sinners and glorified angels are all singing His praise (see Rev. 5:6-12).

Jesus Christ is described by Paul as being our hope (see 1 Tim. 1:1). Everything we have to look forward to is in Him and because of Him. He releases all the blessings of God into our lives. Accordingly, it makes sense that what we are looking forward to is not heaven itself, but rather being with Jesus Christ our LORD.

Consider then some of the things Paul says. He says I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far (Phil. 1:23b). He would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8b). He reminds the Thessalonians that the return of Jesus will mean we will be with the Lord forever (1 Thess. 4:17b). Further, in respect of the Thessalonians he records that they turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven (1 Thess. 1:9b-10a). John also concurs with Paul when he says; we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2b). These scriptures relentlessly drive us to focus on the glorious expectation of being with our LORD Jesus and not just in heaven.

This is a great corrective to all sorts of false notions that we can have about our future and heaven itself. When we start to think about our future we can too easily:

  • think about heaven as some kind of ultimate holiday location. If this is the case then we are thinking of heaven a wonderfully pleasant place to experience, but nothing beyond that.

  • think of heaven merely as a better option than going to hell. Truly we should flee from the wrath to come and that wrath is real. But if this is all we think about then heaven is merely a “phew” place. It is a place where we just think “Phew I am glad I’m here and not in hell!”

  • get involved in pondering upon who we will know in heaven. Will we recognise our relatives? What about recognising Paul or Spurgeon or Lloyd-Jones?

  • think about what we will be doing there. Will we have this job or that job? Scripture says his servants will serve him (Rev.22:3b). What a privilege! Do we need to know more than that?

We must emphasise that the Scriptures never dwell upon the four issues mentioned above. Rather, the focus in scripture is that we will be with our Saviour. We will be worshipping Him and glorifying His Name and that of our great Father God.

Given these things are we really helping a fellow believer, as they approach death, when we say “You will soon be in heaven and we will meet again there?” In saying this are we really encouraging them? Rather, what we should be focusing on is the great anticipation of being “with the LORD”. That is what the New Testament encourages us towards. Moreover, it is what our Saviour encouraged us to think upon. He said to his disciples “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you yhat I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14:1-3).

These words of our Savior not only comfort us as regards to being in His presence, but they delight us with strong hints that he wants us to be with Himself. Sometimes we can long to be with someone, but we are not sure that they want us to be with them! John 17:24 removes once and for all any doubt that He wants us to be with Himself. Here our Saviour says to His Father concerning us Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory. Being with the one we love and knowing He wants us there; now that is surely something to long for.

For the true believer it is our everything to be with Christ Jesus our LORD. Let us then seize our Saviour’s exhortation and resist being troubled. We are going to be with our great Saviour and to be with Him forever. And it does not get any better than that!!

Taken from Feltham Evangelical Church newsletter of February 2012.

Weakness.

When I attend conferences everybody who takes part seems so impressive. I am thinking here particularly of those who ask questions or make contributions from the floor. They all seem articulate and well-spoken. And I am left thinking if I participated I could not be so impressive.

And then I got thinking about the principle of weakness. The Christian faith finds its’ glory in weakness. It is said of our Saviour For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power (2 Cor. 13.4a). And it is the observation of Paul that his experience with the thorn in the flesh made him glory in weakness and not strength. So we read these words in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It is interesting that these observations concerning our Lord and Paul occur in 2 Corinthians. It is in 2 Corinthians that Paul deals with the threat of the ‘super apostles’. These were men who gloried in being impressive and scorned Paul who was viewed as being  oh, so unimpressive. Read 2 Corinthians 10-11 and see something of Paul seeking to show the Corinthian Christians something of what he and “the super-apostles were like”

Which leaves me thinking why am I so intimidated by these oh so impressive participants at these conferences? And why not Philip think about putting your hand up and making a comment and asking a question. Oh, I may go red in the face, I may stumble out my words, I may be told that it was a stupid question / observation, But God delights to use weakness and so does it matter what they think? Not that I want to be a purposely weak individual in order to make some nauseating show of false humility.

But perhaps I should break a habit of a lifetime in my dotage and speak up a bit more. You never, know Philip, it may also encourage some other weak individual to benefit others through speaking up in and through their weakness.

Getting It Right.

Yesterday we left Uzzah dead; dead because the Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God (2 Sam. 6:7). This month we are introduced to an angry David; angry because God has killed Uzzah. However, the story does not end there. Let us see in 2 Samuel 6:9-23 how David gets it right and is changed from an angry man to a praising and effective man.

The fear of the LORD The situation starts to change in v9 when we are told that David was afraid of the Lord that day ( 2 Sam. 6:9a). We are always on the right track when the fear of the Lord descends upon us. When we appreciate the greatness of our God, then we always in a position where things might start to move forward. When David’s anger with the Lord subsided and he started to properly appreciate the situation in a godly way then he was gripped by the fear of the Lord. God had come in judgement and David feared such a God.

Carefulness. The casual attitude previously observed with regard to the ark of God was now replaced by a careful thoughtful consideration of what a significant article this ark was. After all, the ark did represent the actual presence of God among His people. Actually, David now, initially, seems to swing too far the other way. He was now so in awe that He felt that he could not bring the ark back to Jerusalem. However, he did not just leave behind the ark rather he made sure it would be cared for in the house of Obed-Edom (see v10).

The presence of God brings blessing. Many people are falsely kept from coming to Christ because they feel it will spoil their lives. However, God’s overwhelming desire is to bless. We read in 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. God wants to bless. David comes to realise this when he receives reports that the house of Obed-Edom has been mightily blessed whilst having the ark of God present.

Obedience Encouraged by this David now ventures to bring the ark up to Jerusalem. He does so with great delight. The delight here though is appropriately conditioned by a desire to please the Lord. When the attempt had originally been made to bring the ark back to Jerusalem the delight did not have this control. We need to notice in particular at the beginning of v13 that the ark is being carried. The clear implication is that the requirements of the law of God in Numbers 4:15 are being followed.

Offerings Previously all the excitement at bringing the ark back had failed to include the making of offerings. There was lots noise and clamour, but no true worship. Relentlessly throughout the law the people of Israel were taught that in order to come before their holy Lord God they needed offerings. We cannot come in our own merit before the Lord we come on the basis of a life given up. David appears to have learned the lesson and rectified the situation He was almost immediately making offerings. We read on v13 When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. This reminds us to soak all of our lives in the finished work of Christ. Always we should be aware that we need the offering of Christ for us to have access to our heavenly Father. The Lord has given us a weekly opportunity in church to visibly remind us of the offering of Christ, the Lord’s Supper. We always miss out when we fail to participate in this great remembrance feast.

Energy True worship is not boring. Half-heated worship is very likely to be boring. David certainly was not half-hearted. He was engaging with the Lord with a passion. And others were joining in. Perhaps if you worshipped in church with a bit more passion others might be lifted and the whole service would be lifted.

True thankfulness. When a job is finished we can very easily fall into the trap of just breathing a sigh of relief and getting on with the next job. David was certainly not going to be guilty of this. As soon as the ark is safely in Jerusalem he is again bringing offerings (see v17) to show his thankfulness to the Lord. He sets us a good example.

Sharing the blessing There was a danger that the people would be very wary of the ark because of what had happened to Uzzah. David, though, wanted all to know that the ark meant blessing. His blessing of the people and sharing of bread and cakes was surely meant to convey this. Everybody tasted of the blessing is what we learn when we are told that both the men and the women received (see v19).

Not all will appreciate God’s blessings. We are first informed of the lack of appreciation that Michal David’s wife had for the Lord and His blessing in v16. She despised David for his exuberant worship. If we are devoted to the Lord it is very possible that others will not appreciate this at all. Sadly in church this can happen when those who fervently seek the Lord can be mocked. This should never be. How sad it was for David that his wife had no appreciation of his love for God. As an interesting, but sad footnote we read in v23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death. This was ever a sign in Old Covenant days of the disfavour of God.

We live before GodDavid had started to get things together when the fear of the Lord came over his soul. And in his altercation with his wife it was an acknowledgement of the Lord which took priority. Fear of man will prove to be a snare (Prov. 29:25a) says Solomon. Let us make sure that we always make sure that the pleasing of the Lord has precedence.

As we see the situation turned around and the ark was brought back to Jerusalem let us learn from the conduct of David. Let get the right attitude to the Lord and put Him first. Like David we need to learn from our failures and other experiences of life and align our lives with God’s purposes.

(Taken and adapted from Feltham Evangelical Church Newsletter of Dec 2012)

Tag Cloud