May 24, 2020. Ephesians 4:32

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KINDNESS CHECKMATES MALICE. EPHESIANS 4:32. 5/19/20. AM.

Ephesians 4:32 New King James Version (NKJV)

32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

  • Not malice, but forgiveness
    • Paul spent a considerable amount of space urging the Ephesians to remove wicked elements from their lives which grieved the Holy Spirit
      • Lying, stealing, anger…
      • Wrath, blasphemy, bitterness, and malice
    • Paul urges the Eph. to show the love of Christ to each other
      • The word “be” should be translated “become” (not there yet)
      • Paul moves from urging to commandment
    • A great deal of teaching in New Testament is devoted to the aspect of love
      • Matthew 22:36-40 love neighbor is 1 of the 2 great commands
      • James 13:34-35 Christ’s disciples known for love of believers
      • I Corinthians 13:13 among faith, hope, and love, the greatest is love
    • Since one can’t truly love and hate at the same time, love trumps hate
    • Malice and evil must be replaced with charity and goodness
      • Paul states that we have a choice of attitude and action
      • Feelings can be overcome by right choices
      • Emotions will either control you or you will control them
  • Kindness and tenderness
    • Paul moves from those aspects that must be removed to those aspects that must replace what is removed
      • Not an instant change (“become” kind and forgiving)
      • Literally, “become kind and tenderhearted among yourselves”
    • Act of continually making progress from evil to holiness
    • Kindness = goodness
      • This grace, charity, mercy, and gentleness in one package
      • Luke 6:27-36 God is said to be kind and merciful even to the ungrateful and merciful
        • Provides them food and prosperity
        • Delays judgment and God seeks their repentance
      • Goodness is altruistic and not reciprocal
        • Kindness by commandment and desire
        • James 1:21 we need to do right because it’s right to do (a Christian code, duty, obligation…) God’s will
        • Matthew 7: 12 do to others what you want them to do to you (without expecting return in kind)
      • Kindness was shown by David to Mephibosheth, Barzillai to David, the Good Samaritan, Jesus to the blind man, the Syro-Phoenician woman, and women bent over by a demon
    • Tenderheartedness = bowels of mercy
      • Refers to the intestines (Acts 1:18 Judas fell head long, dashing on the rocks, and his bowels gushed forth)
    • Considered the seat of emotions
      • Affections (titus 2:5, a wife is to have affection for her husband)
      • Instead of the heart as the seat of emotions, the Hebrews viewed the intestines as seat of emotions
      • This form of the verb (literally, “good intestines”) is translated compassionate (only place in New Testament)
      • Paul uses tenderheartedness 8 times to Corinth.
    • Comes into our culture with the idioms “gut feeling”, “feeling in the pit of my stomach” (pithy), or “I feel deep inside me” (Not emotion driven, but choice driven by will)
  • Forgiveness
    • Forgiveness = “leave behind” (remove from the place)
    • To no longer hold someone to account
    • Forgiveness is based upon accountable authority (right to judge)
      • Psalm 51:4-6 sin is against God alone (he alone is holy)
      • We are to forgive others because God for Christ forgave us
      • Matthew 18 unless we forgive others, Christ will not forgive us
    • Forgiveness does not make one forget
      • This is why forgiveness is a choice (hurt and pain still there)
      • Romans 12 vengeance belongs to God alone
      • God promises blessing and reward when we forgive (Matthew 5)

Key Verse:

Luke 6:27-36 [New King James Version (NKJV)]

27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. 32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, [a]hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

May 24, 2020. I Samuel 20:35-42

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DAWN DEPARTURE. I SAMUEL 20:35-42. 5/24/20 PM. #66.

1 Samuel 20:35-42 [New King James Version (NKJV)]

35 And so it was, in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad was with him. 36 Then he said to his lad, “Now run, find the arrows which I shoot.” As the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 When the lad had come to the place where the arrow was which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried out after the lad and said, “Is not the arrow beyond you?” 38 And Jonathan cried out after the lad, “Make haste, hurry, do not delay!” So Jonathan’s lad gathered up the arrows and came back to his master. 39 But the lad did not know anything. Only Jonathan and David knew of the matter. 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to his lad, and said to him, “Go, carry them to  the city.” 41 As soon as the lad had gone, David arose from a place toward the south, fell on his face to the ground, and bowed down three times. And they kissed one another; and they wept together, but David more so. 42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, since we have both sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘May the Lord be between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants, forever.’ ” So he arose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.

  • A gloomy dawn
    • Jonathan knows that Saul plans to kill David
      • He awakes the next morning with task of telling David
      • Jonathan and his servant boy go to field near Ezel Rock  
    • The boy believes that Jonathan simply wants to shoot some arrows
      • Jonathan shoots arrows beyond the running boy
      • The “beyond you” signal is given to David so he knows all
    • David could not have been surprised at the revelation
      • Jonathan had all night to ponder the situation
      • By morning Jonathan is resigned to the finality of the situation
    • After the boy retrieves the arrows, Jonathan sends him “back to town” with his bow, arrows, and quiver (Jonathan knows what needed to be done)
  • Last Call
    • David emerges from behind Ezel Rock
      • He is distraught and grieving
      • David knows that he must say goodbye and run for his life
    • David approaches Jonathan, stopping @ intervals to bow prostate on the ground three times
      • Homage to the prince and show of gratitude to his friend
      • Acknowledging and submitting to Jonathan’s superior position
      • Genesis 33:3-4 Jacob bowed 7 times to Esau @ Gilead
      • As Jacob was destined to supersede Esau, so David is destined to greatly supersede Jonathon
      • The homage is a sign of David’s respect and friendship
    • David’s grief exceeds Jonathan’s grief
      • Jonathan is resigned to both the parting and his future fate
      • His grief is as real as David’s but tempered by resignation
      • Resignation to reality allows us to move forward with our lives while still grieving (still much left to do)
      • Jonathan’s main concern is David’s safety (he can’t afford to focus on his grief while David is in harm’s way)
    • David’s grief ran deeper due to many more concerns
      • Separation from his friend, Jonathan
      • Separation from his family
      • A fugitive with a death sentence from the king
      • David will be hunted as long as Saul lived
      • Separation from his wife
      • Loss of palace life, prestige, and command of troops
    • They weep and grieve, and prepare to separate before discovered
  • The new normal
    • Jonathan has to prepare David for the new reality
      • David must focus on survival and not his grief
      • After a loss we can’t be neutralized (must still live)
      • Focus on living must override temptation to quit and stew
    • Self-pity and bitterness insure a slow agonizing death + harm to others
    • Grief must be turned to determination to live triumphantly in Lord
    • David and Jonathan renew vows of perpetual friendship
      • Ongoing friendship between the two families
      • Affirms that God is a witness between and guardian over ea.
      • Jonathan as prince sends David away in peace and safety
    • To occupy until the Lord comes (Luke 19:13) means to continue to do the Lord’s work until our task is done no matter the obstacles and pain
      • Elijah leaves Elijah, Moses leaves Joshua, Jesus leaves disciples, Paul leaves Timothy…
      • Grief is a heartache that only faithful living can console
    • Jonathan “goes back to town” to finish his course for God as David leaves

May 17, 2020. Ephesians 4:30-31

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SAINT RESTRAINT. EPHESIANS 4:30-31. AM. 05/17/20. #21.

Ephesians 4:30-31 New King James Version (NKJV)

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

  • Grieving the Holy Spiritually        
    • Coming to Christ does not produce sinless perfection
      • Romans 7, Paul continually struggled against his old nature
      • II Corinthians 10:3-5 we have powerful weapons to fight against our old nature in our internal struggles
    • I Corinthians 3, there are many carnal & immature believers (Hebrews 5)
    • Five main battles in our internal spiritual warfare:
      • Ignorance – not knowing God’s word (II Timothy 2:15, Romans 10:17, II Timothy 3:16-17, Psalms 119, Hebrews 4:12, I Peter 3:15)
      • Willfulness – stubbornly not wanting to battle our old nature (James 1:21, James 4:18, I Samuel 15) = GREATEST BATTLE
      • Reactiveness – sinful responses (Galatians 5:17-19, I Corinthians 9:27)
      • Undisciplined spirit – lack of self-control (James 1:7-8; Jacob; Samson, David)
      • Spiritual Fatigue – being weary in well doing (Galatians 6:8; I Peter 5:6; II Thessalonians 3:13)
    • We can be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), quench the Spirit, be convicted by the Spirit (John 16:8), or grieve the Spirit (Revelation 2)
      • I Corinthians 11:27-34 those who ignore the conviction & correction of the Spirit will be chastened of the Lord (Hebrews 12:6)
      • Many saints have grieved the Spirit: Jacob, Samson, David, Peter, & even Paul (Acts 21)
    • We are commanded not to grieve the Holy Spirit                              
      • Every sin of thought & deed grieves (disappoints, shames, stresses) the Holy Spirit (an actual distressing)
      • The Spirit that seals us until our glorification is distressed when we show disobedience & ingratitude when we sin
    • The one person we don’t want to disappoint is the Spirit (not about us!)
  • Internal Control
    • The greatest battle we face is within us
      • The moment you stop struggling against sin, you’ve lost
      • The battle lasts a lifetime (EPHESIANS 6:11-18)
    • There are ugly elements within us that must be controlled
      • Paul uses the imperative subjunctive mood = an urgent plea (short of “I command you to…”, but beyond “it would be nice if you did…”)
      • “Let all…” = a commandment you must obey on your own without others enforcing it upon you
        • No one has the power or authority to enforce it
        • Internal struggles are always solitary on the human level (Genesis 4:7 “…you must master it.”)
    • Put away bitterness
      • pikros (English, “prick”) – something that irritates, torments, aggravates continually (the burr under the saddle)
      • Being eaten away with jealousy, hurts, injustice, abuse, or some festering gnawing slight or inadequacy
      • We must turn irritations over to the Lord (I Peter 5:7)
    • Put away wrath
      • thumos (English, “thermal” & “temperature”) – to heat up
      • Control passionate outbursts (often from bitterness)
      • Romans 12:3 control of temper is paramount for testimony
    • Put away anger
      • orge (English., orgy – natural inclinations & longings) – upset, indignation, vexation, seething
      • Usually, a long term angst against something or someone (may stem from an actually hatred or perceived offense)
    • Put away “clamor” (loud argumentation or quarreling)
      • Outcry, boisterous combativeness, verbal attacks
      • krauge (a raven’s cry) – an onomatopoeia (sounds like____)
    • Evil speaking = blasphemy (to rail against, dishonor, or slander)
  • With all malice (kakia, bad)– all wickedness (life speaks louder than words)
    • Malice is the motivational level (evil nature governing wicked intent)
    • Proverbs 25:28 Like broken city walls, so is the man with no self-control

KEY VERSE:

Ephesians 6:11-24 [New King James Version (NKJV)]

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the [a]wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

May 17, 2020. I Samuel 20:24-34

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TENSE TABLE TALK. I SAMUEL 20:24-34. 5/17/20. PM. #65.

I Samuel 20:24-34 [New King James Version (NKJV)]

24 Then David hid in the field. And when the New Moon had come, the king sat down to eat the feast. 25 Now the king sat on his seat, as at other times, on a seat by the wall. And Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty. 26 Nevertheless Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him; he is unclean, surely he is unclean.” 27 And it happened the next day, the second day of the month, that David’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to eat, either yesterday or today?” 28 So Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked permission of me to go to Bethlehem. 29 And he said, ‘Please let me go, for our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. And now, if I have found favor in your eyes, please let me get away and see my brothers.’ Therefore he has not come to the king’s table.” 30 Then Saul’s anger was aroused against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, you shall not be established, nor your kingdom. Now therefore, send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” 32 And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said to him, “Why should he be killed? What has he done?” 33 Then Saul cast a spear at him to kill him, by which Jonathan knew that it was determined by his father to kill David. 34 So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had treated him shamefully.

  • Setting the table
    • Saul sat by wall (no surprise attacks) and was silent on first feast day
      • Saul thought that David was absent for ceremonial unclean.
      • Saul was willing to bide his time
    • Seems odd that Saul expected David to come when he tried to kill him twice
    • On the 2nd day Saul asks “where is the son of Jesse?”
      • David would have been clear of any uncleanness by then
      • This is the moment of test of Saul’s intent toward David
    • Jonathan explains that David asked to be excused to attend a family sacrifice at the request of his oldest brother, Eliab (common act)
  • Saul erupts
    • Saul’s wrath rises to the surface
      • Saul accuses Jonathan of being pro-David and anti-Saul
      • Saul thinks that Jonathan is a fool, working against his own interests as the future king of Israel
    • Saul completely disregards Samuel’s prediction that God will take the kingdom away from Saul (I Samuel 15)- the proud are blind to truth
    • Had Jonathan been power hungry like dad, he would have sided with Saul
    • Saul reveals several facts in his rage:
      • Saul calls Jonathan the son of a perverse and rebellious woman
      • An odd slight on his own wife (perverse = slut)
      • Saul’s wife probably opposed his unholy acts
      • Jonathan learned humility and godliness from mom
    • Saul considered Jonathan shameful even to his mother
    • Saul knows that Jonathan sides with David
    • Saul reveals that he had figured out that David is the threat to the kingdom alluded to by Samuel
      • First time Saul expresses this truth
      • Saul thinks that killing David secures Jonathan’s throne
    • Saul’s madness demonstrates his foolishness
      • Samuel already had informed Saul his kingdom was lost
      • Like Lucifer (Isaiah 14) Saul is fighting a losing battle vs. God
    • Once God shows his will, nothing can change the course God chooses (Moses not going into Canaan, Balaam not cursing Israel, Isr. not allowed to defeat Canaan without God, Ahab not avoiding God’s judgment, Jonah going to Nineveh…)
      • When God is leading in a direction, go without resistance
      • God can’t be successfully opposed
      • God never asks our advice or yield to our will
    • Saul commands Jonathan to bring David to him to be killed (he “will surely die” is the same phrase used by God in Genesis 2:16-17 about forb. fruit)
      • Saul no longer hides intention from Jonathan
      • Saul’s motivation moves from jealousy to protecting his legacy (David is a threat so Saul will not relent in pursuit)
    • When anyone makes a permanent decision to oppose God, his fate is sealed (both temporal and eternal judgment are certain)
  • Jonathan’s awakening
    • Jonathan still thinks he can reason with his father
      • You can’t reason with evil since evil is irrational
      • Jonathan resisted concluding that dad was evil
    • Jonathan asks 2 questions: (1) Why kill David?  (2) What had David done?                             
    • Saul throws a spear at Jonathan (from established kingdom to death threat)
    • Saul has no fear of God, so even his son is viewed as his enemy
    • Jonathan is angry, grieved, and ashamed all at the same time
    • Often we must choose between God and family (a loss and greater gain)

May 10, 2020. Mother’s Day 2020.

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MOM’S DAY. THE WIDOW OF ZAREPHATH. I KINGS 17:8-24. 5/10/20.

1 Kings 17:8-24 New King James Version (NKJV)

8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 So she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’ ” 15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.

  • Command performance
    • Three years of drought led to region-wide famine (as in days of Joseph)
    • This narrative precedes the showdown on Mt. Carmel in chapter 18
    • God commands a widow in Zarepath of Sidon to take care of Elijah
      • God often used the surrounding nations as a refuge for his servants (Jacob in Haran, Joseph in Egypt, Moses in Midian, toddler Jesus taken to Egypt,…)
      • We don’t know if the widow audibly heard from God or if God intuitively laid his will on her heart
    • Often guest stars pop into the biblical narrative out of the blue (Melchizedek, Zipporah, Naaman, Balaam, Barzillai, Shunammite woman, woman at the well, woman with the issue of blood, Tabatha…)
    • We do not know this widow’s name, background, beliefs, character…
  • The encounter
    • Elijah sees the widow picking up sticks to make a fire outside the gate
      • Elijah discerns that this is the correct widow
      • Elijah doesn’t know her condition or anything about her
    • Elijah, without introduction, asks her to bring him water and some bread (hospitality was a major social obligation in biblical times in Near East)
    • The widow recognizes Elijah as a man of God (by his clothing? by revelation?)
      • The knowledge that Elijah is a man of God governs story
      • To trust God is to also trust the man that God has sent
    • A godly woman trusts God in all circumstances, no matter how dire (by Word, leading of Holy Spirit, and godly counsel)
    • The widow tells Elijah that his request is impossible (how God works)
      • She was a widow with a son and enough oil + flour for 1 meal
      • She was about to make their last meal and then starve
    • Elijah insists that she follow his instructions
      • Don’t fear (common admonition to God’s children)–Romans 8:28
      • Make a cake for Elijah 1st (take care of God’s man 1st)
      • God promises that the oil + bread will not run out until rain
    • Widow had to decide whether she trusted Elijah’s words
      • She already knew that he was a man of God (what kind?)
      • God would not have chosen her for this task if he had not also known that she would comply
        • God uses holy women who yield to him (Sarah, Rahab, Ruth, Esther, Abigail, Mary, Tabitha…)
        • A simple informed faith is a great tool of God
      • The widow complies, apparently without argument
    • Elijah, the widow, and her son eat for many days on a little oil and flour

17 Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him. 18 So she said to Elijah, “What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?” 19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?” 21 And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.” 22 Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives!” 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.”

  • Testing & trusting
    • The widow’s son was her only source of joy
    • God takes her son’s life (no explanation)
      • This is the ultimate test of faith
      • Brings her to point of acknowledging her sins
    • Elijah takes the child and pleads for his life (God answers and child lives)
      • The miracle of oil + bread = fell short of complete faith
      • Now she knows Elijah is not just a preacher, but a prophet
    • God cares about women and particularly the widow (I Timothy 5:1-10)
      • He uses the humble and faithful
      • He tests the faithful and seeks to grow faith via the testing

Key Verse:

I Timothy 5:1-10 [New King James Version (NKJV)]1 Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity. 3 Honor widows who are really widows. 4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is [a]good and acceptable before God. 5 Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. 6 But she who lives in [b]pleasure is dead while she lives. 7 And these things command, that they may be blameless. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 9 Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, 10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.

May 10, 2020. I Samuel 20:12-23

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GATEWAY TO GOODBYE. I SAMUEL 20:12-23. PM. #64.

I Samuel 20:12-23 [New King James Version (NKJV)]

12 Then Jonathan said to David: “The Lord God of Israel is witness! When I have sounded out my father sometime tomorrow, or the third day, and indeed there is good toward David, and I do not send to you and tell you, 13 may the Lord do so and much more to Jonathan. But if it pleases my father to do you evil, then I will report it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And the Lord be with you as He has been with my father. 14 And you shall not only show me the kindness of the Lord while I still live, that I may not die; 15 but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, no, not when the Lord has cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “Let the Lord require it at the hand of David’s enemies.”

17 Now Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul. 18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon; and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 And when you have stayed three days, go down quickly and come to the place where you hid on the day of the deed; and remain by the stone Ezel. 20 Then I will shoot three arrows to the side, as though I shot at a target; 21 and there I will send a lad, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I expressly say to the lad, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; get them and come’—then, as the Lord lives, there is safety for you and no harm. 22 But if I say thus to the young man, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you’—go your way, for the Lord has sent you away. 23 And as for the matter which you and I have spoken of, indeed the Lord be between you and me forever.”

  • The Plan
    • David knows that his time in the palace of Saul had come to an end
      • Jonathan is hopeful that David can stay, but senses the end also
      • When hope fades, God closes one door to open another
    • When God closes a chapter in our lives, he opens a better one
      • Jacob flees to Haran and returns the father of a nation
      • Joseph is taken to Egypt in chains and ascends to govern it
      • Moses runs away to Midian and returns as a deliverer of Heb.
    • Both men sense that a parting was at hand
      • Their friendship held fond and prosperous memories
      • Parting of family and friends is inevitable, painful
      • Both men sense that this parting will be permanent
    • David is to hide in the field by the Stone Ezel
      • Jonathan is to return to Saul to see what his reaction to David’s absence is (acceptance or rage)
      • Jonathan will signal to David what Saul’s response was
      • Play on words: David is to sit at Ezel while his seat at the table remains empty
    • Jonathan will come to the field with arrows and a boy servant
      • If Jonathan shoots (literally, sends) 3 arrows short and tells the boy that the arrows are close near him, all is well
      • If Jonathan shoots 3 arrows far and tells the boy that the arrows are far beyond him then David is to flee for his life
    • Jonathan promises to send David away safely
  • The covenant
    • Jonathan senses that his star if setting while David’s is rising
      • He knows that David is destined to take Saul’s place
      • Jonathan shows no jealousy, bitterness, disappointment, or opposition to what he sees happening
      • Whether God has revealed this to Jonathan or not, he knows it
      • The roles will be reversed: Jonathan will be at David’s mercy
    • Jonathan asks for 2 mercies: treat him and his descendants well
    • David covets that they will treat each other well
      • Later, when the Gibeonites, who were attacked by Saul, ask for 7 male descendants of Saul to execute, Jonathan’s desc. are spared (2 Samuel 21)
      • Of Jonathan’s siblings (Merab, Michal, Abinadab, and Malchishua) Merab, who had been promised to David twice, lost all 5 of her sons, and the concubine Rizpah lost 2 of hers
    • The covenant is before the Lord and can’t be broken without judgment
      • Jonathan promises to honestly report back to David
      • David is to treat Jonathan’s household kindly
  • The Parting
    • As Jonathan departs Ezel both men know a permanent change is coming
    • When a sea change comes we are to trust and continue to serve
      • The fond memories will be there after the move, injury, disease, funeral, or traumatic event (not taken away)
      • Serving the Lord is always forward looking (Philippians 3:14)
    • To wallow in sorrow of the past is to lose effectiveness for future
    • The change could not diminish the bond between David and Jonathan
    • Tragic changes can lead to great ministry and glory to God (Joseph, Moses, Jesus on the cross)
    • Providence always furthers God’s kingdom

May 3, 2020. Ephesians 4:29

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Ephesians 4:29 [New King James Version (NKJV)]

29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Blest Be The Tie

Verse 1

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above (Amen)

May 3, 2020. I Samuel 20:1-11

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PARANOIA OR PLOT VICTIM? I SAMUEL 20:1-11. PM. 05/03/20. #63.

1 Samuel 20:1-11 [New King James Version (NKJV)]

1 Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and went and said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my iniquity, and what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?” 2 So Jonathan said to him, “By no means! You shall not die! Indeed, my father will do nothing either great or small without first telling me. And why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so!” 3 Then David took an oath again, and said, “Your father certainly knows that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.’ But truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.” 4 So Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you yourself desire, I will do it for you.” 5 And David said to Jonathan, “Indeed tomorrow is the New Moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king to eat. But let me go, that I may hide in the field until the third day at evening. 6 If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked permission of me that he might run over to Bethlehem, his city, for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.’ 7 If he says thus: ‘It is well,’ your servant will be safe. But if he is very angry, be sure that evil is determined by him. 8 Therefore you shall deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. Nevertheless, if there is iniquity in me, kill me yourself, for why should you bring me to your father?” 9 But Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! For if I knew certainly that evil was determined by my father to come upon you, then would I not tell you?” 10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me, or what if your father answers you roughly?” 11 And Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field.” So both of them went out into the field.

  • Enemy of the State
    • David comes to Jonathan and wants to know what crime he has done
      • Saul is seeking his life even as David loyally served him
      • The unrighteous will hate the righteous for no just cause
      • The righteous are reminders of the God the wicked hate
    • The righteous must be careful not to become bitter or vindictive or self-pitying when unfairly and unreasonably treated
      • John 16:33 attacks will come (John 15:18-25)
      • I Peter 4 being attacked for Christ’s sake identifies with him
    • Jonathan is incredulous
      • He is unaware of Saul’s intention
      • Jonathan thought he solved the issue when he calmed dad down
      • Jonathan doesn’t know the David had to flee for his life
      • Jonathan believed that he was Saul’s confidante (all revealed)
      • Evil does not send a warning when it is going to strike
    • Jonathan wants to think well of his father
      • Those who want to think well of everyone are caught off guard and unawares (stunned and dismayed)
      • Being gracious doesn’t mean being naive (I Peter 5:8, II Chronicles 11)
    • David faces the dilemma of not being believed (Jonathan holds his fate)
      • Jonathan thinks that David was being paranoid
      • It is difficult not to be believed when you are threatened or falsely accused (no way to prove your case)          
        • Often, only God knows the truth
        • Many innocent men have been convicted, unable to prove their innocence
  • The truth be known
    • Jonathan has to decide if David is telling the truth or overreacting
      • David swears that what he is saying is true
      • David reminds Jonathan of their covenant oath before the Lord
    • David postulates that Saul would hide the truth from Jonathan since Saul knew that Jonathan favored David (Jonathan doesn’t want to believe that his father would deceive him or not show signs of malice toward David)
      • David’s life is in the balance
      • David could see the conflict on Jonathan’s face
        • Jonathan is caught in the middle
        • Often events are forced upon us and we must act
    • Jonathan doesn’t know what to think
      • He refrains from dismissing David’s claims outright (it is wise to refrain from judgment until all the facts are in)
      • Jonathan needs more evidence before coming to a conclusion
    • David pleads for kindness (a partner in righteousness)
  • The plan
    • David says that he is going to hide in the field for 3 days
      • He won’t attend the feast of the new moon with Saul
      • New Moon = begins Heb. month (29½ days; later Heb. alternated 29 and 30 day mon. and added extra mon. every 19 yrs.)
      • Jonathan = tell his father that David went to Bethlehem for the annual family sacrifice
    • If Saul reacts calmly all is well; if angered, David is in jeopardy
    • Jonathan accepts the plan, though he is still skeptical of David’s claim
    • Jonathan’s loyalty must be to righteousness (not Saul or David)
      • Luke 12:49-53 must decide between Christ and own family
      • A test of Jonathan’s faith, honoring dad, and covenant with David
    • If you have a solid foundation, you make the right tough decisions

April 26, 2020. Ephesians 4:28

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LABORERS FOR THE LORD. EPHESIANS 4:28. 26 APRIL 2020. #19.

Ephesians 4:28 [New King James Version (NKJV)]

28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

  • Cease stealing
    • Again, akin to lying, Paul commands us to stop thievery (klepto)
    • There are many ways to steal
      • Taking someone else’s possession or property
        • Outright thievery
        • Purloining (borrowing without returning item)
      • Stealing one’s reputation (gossip, false accusation, innuendos, speculation, mischaracterization, misquoting…
      • Stealing affection that does not belong to you (someone else’s spouse)
      • Taking credit for another’s efforts
        • We most often steal praise that belongs to God (Moses at the rock, Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, Herod Agrippa I in Tyre–Acts 12)
        • Plagiarism, stealing another’s ideas
      • Stealing another’s hope and joy (1 Thessalonians 5:19 quenching the Spirit) through discouragement
      • Cheating on your taxes, in business dealings, or on loans
    • The context of this passage is narrow: stealing possessions and $
    • We are to stop cheating and stealing from others
  • Honest labor
    • God designed man to be productive
      • Genesis 2 the first assignment God gave man was to tend the garden (even before he was given a wife)
      • 1 Timothy 5:8 man is to take care of his family
    • Paul emphasizes 2 aspects of earning a living:
      • Labor with your hands = to work with tools God gave you
        • Hand is a euphemism for productive labor of any kind (1 Sm. 5:11 the hand of God was heavy against the Philistines; Proverbs 21:1 the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord; Eccl. 9:10 whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all might unto Lord; Ecclesiastes 11:6 do not withhold your hand from sowing in the morning and evening; Is. 48:13 God laid the foundation of the earth with his hand and with his right hand he stretches out the heavens; Isaiah 64:8 we are the work of the hand of God)
        • We are not designed to be sluggards or idle (Proverbs 6)
    • Honorable work
      • Every honorable work done in an honorable way (fair and quality) is pleasing to the Lord (laborers, tradesmen, doctors, clerks, teachers…)
      • All labor must be done to praise of God
  • Labor to give
    • The Bible gives us 6 basic uses for money:
      • Malachi 3:9-10 to give to the Lord
      • I Timothy 5:8 to provide for one’s family
      • Romans 13:1-7 to pay taxes and fees to whom they are due
      • Proverbs 13:22 a godly man leaves an inheritance for his children and grandchildren
      • Proverbs 3:27-28 (Jm. 2) to give to those in need
      • Proverbs 6:6-9 store up for future needs (consider the ant)
    • The biblical 6 expenditures must be met before anything else
    • By giving to those in need we lend to the Lord (Proverbs 19:17)
      • Can’t meet every need
      • Often the Lord gives us bounty to share with others
      • Not referring to give to those refuse to work and take advantage of others (2 THS. 4:6-15)
      • To meet legitimate needs as the Lord leads (Good Samaritan)
    • Go from thieving to working to giving (from taker to giver)
    • Stewards of Gospel, family, testimony, all we are given

Apr 26, 2020. I Samuel 18:18-24 (pm)

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IS SAUL WITH THE PROPHETS? I Samuel 19:18-24. PM. 04/26/20. #62.

1 Samuel 19:18-24 [New King James Version (NKJV)]

18 So David fled and escaped, and went to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and stayed in Naioth. 19 Now it was told Saul, saying, “Take note, David is at Naioth in Ramah!” 20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David. And when they saw the group of prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as leader over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. 21 And when Saul was told, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. Then Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also. 22 Then he also went to Ramah, and came to the great well that is at Sechu. So he asked, and said, “Where are Samuel and David?” And someone said, “Indeed they are at Naioth in Ramah.” 23 So he went there to Naioth in Ramah. Then the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on and prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24 And he also stripped off his clothes and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Therefore they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

  • David seeks out protection from Samuel
    • David travels to Ramah, home of Samuel
    • Samuel represented divine help
      • Samuel was very old at this time
      • Samuel had left Saul after the botched Amalekite campaign
      • I Samuel 16 Samuel is told to anoint a new king, but he is fearful of Saul (God encourages Samuel)
      • Once Samuel anoints David as king, David is invincible until he becomes king and accomplishes God’s will for him
        • None can harm you until you finish your calling
        • David doesn’t seek help from his troops, but God
    • Notice the partnership between God and man
      • David did what he could be escaping and seeking godly help
      • David depended upon God to help him
    • We are expected to do what we can while relying on God’s help
    • David told Samuel all Saul had done
      • We have no record of Samuel’s response
      • Samuel was probably not surprised
        • Saul’s nature had not changed
        • Saul had not repented, nor shown signs of repent.
      • Saul does not know that David had been anointed as king
        • Saul knows that God’s favor was now on David
        • Saul knows that David is more popular than he is
        • Saul = not realized he fights against God (loses)
    • Since David is God’s choice as king, Samuel helps him
      • Samuel is very consistent in following God’s will
      • Samuel and David are kindred spirits, unlike Saul
  • Messenger mania
    • 5 times Saul sent messengers to capture David
      • Twice he sent them to David’s house
      • Three times he sends mess. to Naioth (lit., dwellings or huts–dorms for the college of prophets outside Ramah)
    • Each time mess. reach Naioth they are turned into temporary prophets, prophesying with the regular prophets
    • Saul does not take “no” for an answer
      • Saul’s jealousy has moved to obsession (obsession is a very destructive force–$, relations, fame, possessions…)
      • Saul seams to take no notice that God protects David
    • God offers 3 levels of protection according to his purposes:
      • Divine protection (Joseph, Elijah, Daniel, Peter[Acts 12])
      • Martyrdom (John the Baptist, Stephen, James [Acts 12])
      • Delayed martyrdom (OT prophets, Peter, Paul, Rev. 6)
  • Saul among the prophets
    • Saul goes after David himself
      • He doesn’t heed the warning God sends him (stops mess.)
      • Power of the king is not absolute (Nebuchadnezzar, Ahab, Herod…)
    • Saul is also turned into a prophesying prophet
      • 2nd time Saul has prophesied
        • 1 Samuel 10 as a confirmation of his calling
        • 1 Samuel 19 as a confirmation of his rejection
      • Saul is made to strip down and be exposed all night
    • A difference between humiliation and humility
      • Humiliation is circumstantial, but humility is a choice
      • Is Saul among the prophets? (slur-king or prophet?)
    • More lessons on humility are taught than learned
    • Proverbs 16:18 a person who refuses to be humbled, will be destroyed