Thursday, March 31, 2016

40 Old Testament Story: David & Bathsheba

This story is an illustration that God can use flawed human beings to do great things.

David has become King of Israel.  He has been anointed by God.  He will go on to become the father of the nation of Israel.  He basically spies into his neighbors backyard and sees his neighbors wife.

He decides that he has to have her and so he calls her to him and pressures her into having sex with him.  Today we would say that his behavior fell somewhere between the definitions of sexual exploitation and date rape.  It certainly was adultery.  David has broken 2 of the 10 commandments - he has coveted his neighbor's wife and has committed adultery.

Bathsheba becomes pregnant.  David first tries to get her husband to come home and sleep with her and when that fails he orders that her husband, a general, be put in the forefront of the battle in order that he be killed.  David basically orders the murder of Bathsheba's husband.

David is called out by a prophet and repents.  God goes on to make David the greatest king in the history of Israel.

God continually uses sinners - and David is a great sinner.  At least one of the points of this story is that it doesn't matter how bad a sinner we have been, if we are willing, God can use us for his glory.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

40 Old Testament Stories: David and Jonathan

After his triumph over Goliath, David becomes friends with Jonathan, the son of King Saul.  Saul gets increasingly jealous of David and eventually David comes to believe that Saul will try to kill him.

So David and Jonathan make a solemn pledge to each other, they will test Saul and if Saul is, in fact angry at David, Jonathan will let him know.  They pledge to protect each other.

So they put their test in place, and Saul is after David.  Jonathan lets David know that - they part as friends and David goes into hiding to escape from Saul

Thursday, March 17, 2016

40 Old Testament Stories: David & Goliath

Everyone knows about the story of David & Goliath - the phrase, "It was a battle between David & Goliath" or "they are the Goliath" are a part of our everyday lexicon.

So, just to recap, the Philistines and Israel are at war.  The Philistines have brought their champion, Goliath, now, 1 Samuel says that he was 9 feet tall - basically just read that he was big - bigger than the rest of the soldiers.  He was also well armored and a good fighter.

No one has been able to defeat him.  David is the younger son of Jesse.  His older brothers are in the army and he gets sent to bring them some supplies.

David goes to see his brothers and hears Goliath taunting the Israeli army and asks why no one is doing anything about it. - in other words, David is being a know-it-all, annoying teenager.  His brother calls his bluff and David now has to face Goliath.

You know the rest of the story - David takes down Goliath with the slingshot that he used to chase wolves away from the sheep.

This is another example of something that recurs in Scripture - God often uses the least expected person and the person that God chooses doesn't have to be perfect

Thursday, March 10, 2016

40 Old Testament Stories: Israel Demands a King - and gets Saul

This is a story that is basically about "be careful what you pray for - God may decide to give you exactly what you asked for"

Israel has been governed by judges for about a generation and they look around and realize that all of the other nations have kings.  So Israel says - "hey, we want one of those too, that's what we need to be a real nation"

God says - no, you don't really want a king - kings are more trouble then they are worth, trust me.

The people come back with - no, we really want a king.

God says - okay then, you want a king - here you go.  And he gives them Saul - Saul is basically the definition of a bad king.  He is immature, selfish, weak and a poor governor.

Be careful what you ask for - God may give it to you.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

40 Old Testament Stories: Call of Samuel

Here we have one of the call narratives.

Samuel, who has been dedicated to God from infancy and raised to serve God, hears God's voice and doesn't immediately  recognize it.

Samuel needs Eli to help him interpret the voice of God.

I think there is a lesson for us there.  We need the help of others to interpret God's call in our lives.  It is one of the reasons that we gather in community, so that we can test what we hear with other believers and together discern what God is calling us to.