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Each step of a righteous man is ordered of...
Each step of a righteous man is ordered of God. It is important for us to understand that God will tell us each step to be taken. It is equally important to accept that God uses each of those steps to confirm his leading us to that place of righteousness in Him.
1 Samuel 20:20-22
I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target. Then I will send a boy and say, 'Go, find the arrows.' If I say to him, 'Look, the arrows are on this side of you; bring them here,' then come, because, as surely as the LORD lives, you are safe; there is no danger. But if I say to the boy, 'Look, the arrows are beyond you,' then you must go, because the LORD has sent you away. NIV
Run Boy Run
I am not a gambler. My wife says that not only am I not a gambler; I'm not even much of a risk taker. She should know. I have, however, on occasion run across a poker tournament on television and stopped to watch. It is both puzzling and intriguing to observe some of the decisions that are made. Some are made purely out of desperation by people who believe they have no other choice. Other decisions are made totally out of conceit by people who believe they are invincible or they just can't do anything wrong. There are on some occasions decisions made out of stupidity. Even in poker there are few rules. Still others are made on principle.
All battles and situations in life, just like poker hands are not going to be won unless they are handled correctly. I know poker is a game of chance. Some and I am tempted to say most play life like a game of chance. They make decisions out of desperation while others out of stupidity, arrogance, or conceit. Decisions need to be made because of sound counsel and reasonable judgment not with hope and a prayer and maybe all will work out. May we learn how to make the proper decisions at the right time.
David didn't want to accept that Saul wanted to kill him. Jonathon said let me talk to him and I will inform you of his intentions. In conversation with Saul, Jonathon learned of Saul's desire to kill David and showed David the sign he told him of. That sign was to inform David to run. To stay meant putting himself at risk. David had been anointed by Samuel to be the next king and now God was protecting David until his appointed time. He could've out of conceit or arrogance made the wrong decision. He could've out of desperation chosen to act. Thank God that the steps of a righteous man are ordered of Him. Nothing will ever take the place of sound counsel and the wisdom to follow it. Sometimes we need to choose when and where to fight the battle.
David was struggling with the decision. Jonathon reminded him he had been chosen as the next king. Dead men don't make good kings and men who are not willing to make sound decisions are not ready to rule as kings. The decision to run at this time was needed to answer the question God was asking. Where's the man?
You don't have to be a gambler to understand that there is a chance that life may throw a few curves. Consider these simple suggestions. Learn to discern the truth. Make yourself accept the truth. Discipline yourself to act on the truth. Continue to ask the question "where's the man?"
Samuel Comes to Jesse's House
1 Samuel 16:1
The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king." NIV
Samuel Comes to Jesse's House
As a pastor I really did enjoy the visitation part of the ministry. It was interesting to go and visit people where they live. Yes, you had to learn who you could visit and who you needed to set appointments with. My perception of visiting was about relationships, so if they were working on cars or milking cows or building something, I wanted to be there and know where they lived.
It is human nature I suppose to not want any surprises. I understand as well about wanting to be prepared. However surprises are always going to happen and we must live by always putting our best foot forward. If there is something in our lives that we need to correct then let's correct it. Please let us not get caught believing that just because there are things that others do not know about us, we are okay. It doesn't matter whether others know or not, God does.
Samuel showed up at Jesse's house. Whether or not it was announced or he just showed up I don't know. This I do know. He was sent there by God for specific reason. That reason was for the next king of Israel to be anointed.
Many sermons have been preached on these passages of text. A few on why Jesse called all of his sons except David. Some have preached on why Samuel, the man of God, looked on their stature rather than their heart. Jesse, I'm sure was thinking in the here and now time frame. Samuel, even though he was a prophet, was not a mind reader. It was only by the leading of the Holy Spirit that he was able to know and follow the will of God in this situation.
I am sure I am not the only one to ever have these thoughts. I believe that it was to David's good that when Samuel showed up and his intentions were proclaimed that David was tending his father's sheep. Samuel was God's man for the region at that time. What would we do if he showed up at our house. David could have left his position, run through the neighborhood and told everyone who was at his house. He could have stopped what he was doing and went to the window to find out what was going on inside. We have reason to believe that is not what he did. We have reason to believe he stayed at his job.
What that means is this. God showed up and found David where he lived. His integrity was intact. His life was under control. He was content in what he was, where he was, and why he was. Not everyone is at that place. Are you?
We are all going to leave this earth some day. We will go by the grave or by the rapture. God is going to visit and that visit is probably going to be unannounced. He will find us right where we live. If that is true then a legitimate question we must answer is. Where's the man?
You don't have to be a minister to understand that what we do and how we do it is important. Neither should you need the constant pressure of someone looking over your shoulder to drive you towards that which is right.
Consider these simple suggestions.
Determine to stay faithful Work on intentionally doing that which is right Don't panic when surprises occur
This will help you determine where you are in God.
After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.' NIV
My wife and I have been extremely blessed by being allowed to spend the last few days in Hawaii. We have lodged on the west bank of Mauii overlooking Kaanapali Beach. I'm certain there are a number of places in the world where experiences like this occur. There is just something different about waking up to the sound of the ocean waves and the smell of the air scented by the natural herbs prevalent in the tropical climate. It is quite an opportunity to be privileged to sit at the breakfast table and look out over the ocean while sipping the morning coffee and one I can really appreciate. I find myself being encouraged to really enjoy the moment.
I like the scenery so I take pictures and email them to the kids so they can see where we are. I got an email back this morning that said "we enjoy the scenery but the grandkids want to see nana and papa." So I sent some people pictures. I very much enjoy the scenery.
We have been blessed to be able to enjoy helicopter rides, dinner cruises, snorkeling along the reefs, and drive the roads just to look. We have seen sights from Central America to the Northern Rockies. We have been privileged to enjoy beach scenery from Florida to Hawaii. The older I get there is one thing that becomes more important to me. That one thing is what I am leaving for my family and those who know me. I believe God has given me an idea for a book dealing entirely on this subject. We can leave them money and we can leave them material things, but that is not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is the experiences and nurturing that will influence them to follow after that which is right forever.
It is interesting to recognize that as long Israel was under the leadership of one of the leaders that came up under Joshua, they did that which was right in God. What a testimony. Not all can say that. Please don't get mad yet. I know there were those whom it is written that they followed God yet their offspring did not. I understand we can not make decisions for any one except ourselves. However our job is still to do what we can when we can so we can influence others.
One of the things I really like about God is that He doesn't try to hide anything. He is very open about people in the word. God tells us both good and bad about his servant David. David was the brave young man who defeated Goliath on the battlefield. He led the return of the Ark of God back to Jerusalem. He had opportunity to kill Saul but knew that it was not his place. He sinned against God in having Bathsheba's husband killed. He pillaged towns and had everyone killed so no one would be left behind to tell. He exercised extreme judgment in having people executed for their actions yet found mercy because of repentance when confronted for his own actions.
After it was all over this is what was said. "David is a man after my own heart." Can that be said of you? I love the sights, sounds, and smells of different places in the world and I want to be able share them with my family and friends. However there is not anything more important than leaving them with a right relationship and proper influence in God. The older I get that becomes much more important to me. With that this question also becomes more important.
Where's the man?
One of the most important and sobering issues in life we will face is what we are leaving behind. It would be a shame to gain the whole world and lose our souls.
Consider these simple suggestions.
You truly will likely pass through this life only once.
Determine you are going to take someone with you. Work hard at having a positive influence. Discover how to enjoy life along the way.
You are determining where you are in God.
I Could Have Killed You but I Didn't
1 Samuel 24:11
See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. Now understand and recognize that I am not guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. NIV
I Could Have Killed You but I Didn't
We were seated in a restaurant overlooking the ocean and were in a bit of a hurry now to get around before catching the flight home. After being seated by the hostess and given a menu to look at there was a little time before the waitress appeared to take our order. Upon her arrival she began to in her own way tell us all the drink choices and greet us and I simply gathered the menus and handed them to her and explained that we just wanted two waters with lemon and a hamburger that we were going to share. She asked another question and I thought that I politely said no thank you. As she walked away my wife looked at me and said, "what is wrong with you?" I replied "what do you mean?" I didn't intend to be short I just didn't have time for small talk. In about an hour we needed to be fueled up, rental car turned in and at the airport and it is a forty minute drive from here to rental car drop off.
Travelling is sometimes very interesting. I couldn't check in on line this morning because when I attempted to do so I failed to capitalize the letters in the password and unfortunately was locked out for "security" reasons. Now it would be necessary to arrive at the airport early to check in there. It was beginning to get late and things needed to cooperate. When I pull through the McDonald's drive through I am not real thrilled about being greeted with information on the newest McBlizzard. When I go to the bank I am not going to hear about their newest banking program. I understand because of being in sales that the idea is to sell but I have to tell you there are times I really don't care for it.
Here is what happened. After being confronted by my wife I became convicted. Even though I didn't like it I had to repent. The lady was only doing her job. I later apologized to her for being in such a rush. I learned that she was from Canada and how she came to reside in Maui which really was an interesting story.
David and his men were being hunted by Saul and his army. They were hid in the back of a cave and Saul who was outside the cave came in the front to relieve himself. David's men came to him and said "God has delivered your enemy into your hand." David snuck up behind Saul and cut off the corner of his robe but could not bring himself to kill him. He determined that it was not his job to take Saul off the throne. It was to be God's prerogative.
After Saul left the cave David became convicted for what he had done in cutting off a piece of the king's robe. He called to him to get his attention and repented. "I could have killed you but I didn't" David said. What really set David apart from Saul was his heart. David genuinely felt remorse for what he had done.
I've never come close to killing anyone that I know of but this is what I have done. I have been short with a woman who was only doing her job. I have probably said things I didn't need to say. The bible says that we have the power of life and death in our tongue. We should take seriously what could come out of our mouths and maybe tone it down at times. Maybe we should consider "I could have killed you but I didn't." In so doing we could be answering the question. Where's the man?
It is easy in life to become so centered on things going on in our own lives that we don't even think or consider how we may be affecting the lives of others.
Consider these simple suggestions.
Intentionally slow down. Practice the art of thinking before speaking. Don't get too mad when it is only after you have to apologize that you learn.
You are getting there. Where's the man?
David and Goliath
1 Samuel 17:10-11
Then the Philistine said, "This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other." 11 On hearing the Philistine's words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. NIV
David and Goliath
When I was younger there was a time that I was tormented by fear. I don't mean that there were things I respected. I am saying that I was absolutely afraid. I would awaken during the night just plain scared. Then something would make a noise and I would begin to imagine things. I would imagine someone was at the window looking in or that someone was in the house. I would begin to think of bad things that could happen. I was terrorized by fear. I particularly did not like staying alone. God has really had to help me in some areas of my life.
God saved me because He wanted to. I wish I could say that I chased God because I knew He could heal and save me but that is not true. He chased me. I gave Him no reason to. I certainly did not deserve it. He chased me. I finally gave in. He has forgiven and saved me because He wanted to.
When He saved me He saved me. I was changed. I did not want to be the same again. There were still a few things (okay a lot of things) that God had to help me deal with. Even though I had entered into a new and real relationship with Him, I was not perfect. Fear was one of the bigger issues that needed to be dealt with.
Excerpted from Where's the Man by Robert Jackson Copyright © 2010 by Robert Jackson. Excerpted by permission.
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