Saturday, September 20, 2008

Submitted to His Sovereignty


Yesterday, while reading the story of King David just to pass the time, I stumbled upon two very intriguing passages:

“If I fine favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back…But if….[not], then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him” (2 Sam. 15: 25, 26, NIV).
and
“If he is cursing [me] because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’….. Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today” ( 2 Sam.16: 10, 11-12, NIV).

I was arrested by King David’s patient surrender to the will of God in bad times. The background of the story is horrendous: The King and his entire household have been routed from Jerusalem, the capitol city, by his own son and heir, Prince Absalom.

Scholars are divided on why the Almighty allowed the revolt of Absalom to occur, or at least why it has such a prominent place in the narrative. Some say this record is intended to demonstrate God’s punishment in David’s life for his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and his subsequent murder of her husband, Uriah. Others say the rebellion of Absalom occurred because the King refused to do justice when his eldest son, Amnon, raped his half sister, Tamar.

In some eyes David is being punished for something he did do, while in others he is being punished for something that he did not do. In either case, all hell has broken loose in the life of the King, and David has to choose between running like a scared dog and fighting and killing his own son. What a dilemma! David chooses to run.

The first text is in response to a friend, Zadok the priest, who wishes to follow David and bring with him the Ark of the Covenant. David sends both Zadok and the Ark back to the city with these words: “If I fine favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again. But if… [not], then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him”

The second text is David’s response to Shimei, an enemy, who has come out to curse the King during his darkest hour. The King’s nephew, Abishai, is head of the Secret Service, (captain of the King’s body guard) and a general in the army. General Abishai hears the cursing of Shimei, draws his sword, and is about to take Shimei’s head off when King David intervenes with the words of the second text.

It is in this sad hour, when King David is transformed from a mighty warrior to a man fleeing for his life, that he teaches us some very important lessons (or should I say the Lord uses him to teach us some very important lessons):

1. David saw the events of his life as coming from the Lord, not from Absalom. Here is a major truth: The setbacks and advancements of your life do not come from other people; they may come through them, but they actually come from God. If you and I could bring ourselves to see other people as the conduit or pipeline of our fortunes and not the source of them we would have a whole lot less people with whom to be angry and fewer people to hate. God either allowed the setback, disappointment, or downfall in your life or he sent it. This is the lesson of Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane: ‘Father, you sent this my way. Show me how to endure it. Let your will be done.’ Jesus never prayed for the death of Pilate, the soldiers who beat him, or the destruction of the Jews who tried him. Stop being angry with the person who brought the trouble and get things right with the One who sent it or at least allowed it. “If I fine favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back…But if [not], then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.”

2. David never carried a grudge against Absalom. He did not want revenge against his rebellious son. The Law of Israel clearly gave the father the authority of life and death over his children, especially a son. Absalom’s rebellion was not only high treason against the King’s majesty, it was also a just cause for any father in Israel to have his son stoned to death (See Deut. 21: 18-21). But King David walked away from revenge. He would not even allow it into his heart and mind. This is a tough one because every time someone does something to hurt us it is very easy to begin planning ways to “get back at them,” “to show them.” It’s natural and we do it all the time. When people hurt us, we try to conjure up ways to hurt them back. “Not so!” says King David. Revenge is a waste of energy and it will never get you what you really want, which is victory. Give up revenge. Put revengeful thinking out of your mind. “Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to.” “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake” (2 Sam. 18: 5).

3. David reckoned that not answering the pain that others brought to him was his investment in what God would give him later. David had a peculiar system of justice: it was not “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” It was this: “If you put my eye out, instead of me putting yours out, I will look to God who is able to give me sight in my hands, my ears, and my feet. I will see more and do more with this one eye than you will do with two eyes.” Why? Because God will give me something good for the evil that you gave me. "It may be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today.”

These three things may be why the Bible remembers David as “a man after God’s own heart” (2 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22).

Turn your life around. Start looking to God as the source of your setbacks as well as your advancements. Regardless of what happens in your life submit yourself to the sovereignty of the Almighty God, because only he can turn midnight into noon day. He did it for David. He will do it for you.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Keith D. Witherspoon said...

We have to accpet what God allows! Great Post!!

September 20, 2008 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger Pastor Andre' A. McGhee said...

Preacher!!!!!

This is a great post! Thanks for the spiritual boost.

September 22, 2008 at 9:31 AM  

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