A personal walk with God and stuff learned on the way

Posts tagged ‘King David’

The covenant of relationship

On May 11th 2013 Wigan Athletic and Manchester City played in the FA Cup final.   Whilst Man City had experienced success before, Wigan were considered the underdogs. This was a new experience in their 81 year history.

Dave Whelan

As a supporter of another North West club, I know that many fans of Blackburn Rovers were wanting Wigan to win.

The reason for this is because of the historical relationship that Wigan owner Dave Whelan has with Blackburn Rovers, that supporters of the club will also support Wigan in an otherwise neutral match.  He played for Blackburn Rovers against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 1960 FA Cup final and broke his leg in a tackle with another player.

In 1 Samuel 18 David made a covenant with Jonathan and after Jonathan died, David made a point of looking for anyone who was of the same family of Jonathan, to whom he could be gracious.   He sought out Mephibosheth and bought him to his palace and had him sit at his table in a place of honour. Mephibosheth was overwhelmed by this extraordinary act of kindness and mercy by the King as he knew he had done nothing to deserve it.

Mephibosheth Before David II Samuel 9:3-6It was only because of David’s relationship with Jonathan that Mephibosheth was invited to David’s palace. He had done nothing to earn it on his own.

This can be compared to the relationship that God has established with the Church through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  It is because of the relationship that that Father has with the Son that anyone can come and benefit from that relationship through the sacrifice Jesus made.  We haven’t done anything to earn or deserve it. We are the benefactors even though it had nothing to do with us. We come to God through no merit of our own.

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3: 16)

He lives in us

As every Christian knows, when a person makes the decision to become a believer in Jesus Christ, that the Holy Spirit come to live in us.  This is how we are able to live the life that God has given us to live. Consider the following scriptures:

 John 14:16-18

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever – the Spirit of truth …. He lives with you and will be in you.

Romans 8:11

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

As a believer, it can be easy to take this truth for granted.  This may be because we don’t have a background in the old testament Jewish culture.  Before Jesus came and died for us, God was not approachable in the same way as He is since the death and resurrection of Jesus.  He appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai but no-one was allowed to touch the mountain or they would die

(Exodus 19)

God’s presence went with the Ark of the covenant, but it was to be treated with absolute respect. When David put the Ark on a cart rather than carrying it on poles as he was supposed to, God put Uzzah to death for even touching it (2 Samuel 6).

God’s presence dwelt in a fire and a cloud (Ex 13:21) a tent and after the temple was built, in the Holy of Holies.

But for all this time, God remained largely unapproachable and distant.

—–+—–

After Jesus died, the curtain in the temple was torn in two  showing us that God had removed the separation between Him and His people and had opened up the way for us to come to Him through faith in Jesus.

Hebrews 10: 19-22

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

Now God does not live in a man-made temple or in the Ark of the Covenant. He lives in our hearts.  This once distant God has made Himself available to us by living in us and it is His presence in our lives that makes us Holy in his sight.

God has not changed. He is no less holy and magnificent and worthy of praise. He is still everything the Old Testament describes, but the difference is
He lives in us.

This means that where we go, whatever we do or say is done in His name as His representative God goes and whatever we do to any believer we do to Him (Matt 25: 40)

It means we get to see ourselves and others differently and act, speak and think differently. We get to treat as a Holy thing His presence in our lives. It gives us life but it also means we are careful how we live and do not treat His Holy Spirit in us lightly.  It is the power to those who believe.

You yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives among you.

(1 Corinthians 3:16)

All things are possible

Christians will often tell you that God speaks to them through the Bible and there are times when a familiar passage has brought new meaning to them at a specific time.  Even though they have read it before, for some reason, one day, it has new meaning and the words leap off the page.

Every believer has had this happen to them at some time or another.

A recent example for me was the following verse from Mark 10.

 “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

I understood this to mean that, while men are limited, God is not. When we are unable, God is able. He holds the world in His hands and He can do anything he wants when he wants. This is similar to another passage in Jeremiah.

“Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17

Recently, however, I read this in a different light.  Although we are unable to do many things on our own, when God is with us, we can do anything God requires of us, like in Philippians 4

 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Phil 4:13

This means that God’s grace working in us can empower us to do what we would be incapable to do without Him.

2 Cor 4:7 describes us as ordinary jars of clay jars with an extraordinary treasure inside. We can go beyond our natural strengths because God is working in us. Bible history is filled with examples of those who were weak in themselves, but when God got hold of them, they became fearless and capable:  Paul, Moses, Peter, Gideon, Samson, David and Solomon are just a few. I have also found that God won’t move on our behalf until we ask Him in.  He will let us wear ourselves out until we get to the point where we are at the end of ourselves.  In my experience it’s better for me if I admit that early on and ask for God to help me before I become unstuck!  The power available to the greats of the Bible is available for us if we ask Him, but we need to ask Him.

With God, all things are possible.

How big is God?

Lots of people have an interest in the mysteries of space and science fiction and whether there might be life on other planets other than our own.  When thinking about the stars and the vastness of the known universe, I came across the following quote on a website recently and it caught my eye.

If we talk about “space” as being anything in the universe outside the atmosphere of Earth, then space is very, very big indeed.  How big?

The diameter of the Earth is 12 000 km.
The distance from the Earth to the moon is 400 000 km.
The distance from the Earth to the sun is 150 million km.
The diameter of the entire solar system is about 8000 million km.
The distance from here to the nearest star (other than our own sun) is 40 million million kilometres (4.2 light years)
The distance from here to the centre of our galaxy is about 250 000 million million kilometres (26,000 light years)
The distance to the great nebula in Andromeda, the nearest galaxy is 15 million million million km.  (1.5 million light years)
And the distance to the edge of the known universe is around 100 000 million million million km. (10.5 thousand million light years)
 

“Space is big.  Really big.  You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is.  I mean, you might think it’s a long walk down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space.” (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)

(Taken from http://www.stellar-database.com)

In truth, we are unable to comprehend the size of even what we know is out there, never mind what might be even beyond that. Our minds are too limited to imagine it.  Recognising how small and seemingly insignificant we are compared to how big everything out there is might lead us to believe that we are too small and unimportant to God.

David recognised this and spoke of it in Psalm 8


When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, 
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
Ps 8: 3-4

David knew how much God cared for him because he had been rescued many many times from life-threatening circumstances, and yet he knew it was only the unsurpassing greatness of God that had caused Him to reach down and come to David’s aid so often.

God has pursued a relationship with us by having Jesus take our place of punishment in dying for us and He wants to be involved in every single area of our lives.  He is the God of the immenseness and beauty of all of creation but He also actually wants us as individuals to draw near to Him and to be completely involved in everything that we do!

Now THAT is vastly hugely mind-boggling!

How great is our God

Thou shalt not feel?

One of the teachings I really struggled with over the years is the one about not being lead by our feelings.  I must admit to having heard a lot of teaching on this subject and for a long time I never quite got to grips with it.  I remember hearing people say, “We’re not lead by our feelings”, but I often wondered whether others really understood the idea either.

When I was introduced to this subject for the first time, it seemed that I was being taught that our choices in life and our responsiveness to the world around us should come only from the intellect and not involve any measure of sensibility at all. It was as though we were told that we should strive to be like Mr. Spock of Star Trek.

The reason this bothered me was because I didn’t see this in the Bible and was struggling getting the balance on this. Elijah knew grief when Jezebel was pursuing him. Job went through distress when God tested him and of course Jesus knew the anguish of what was ahead of him in the garden of Gethsemane.

David, of course, was an emotive person.  He really wore his heart on his sleeve. The relationship he had with God involved a lot of expressing how he was feeling at times when he believed his life to be in danger. You can hear it in a lot of the Psalms he wrote.  Below are just two examples

Psalm 130:1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;

This describes a time when David was calling to God from the very heart of his being. He also had no trouble telling God how he felt.

Psalm 142:  I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.
I pour out my complaint before him;   before him I tell my trouble.

So where is the balance?

I believe it is in the area of control.  We are commanded to be self-controlled.  It’s a fruit of the Spirit. Anything that controls us has power over us, and so if our feelings are running our life we will always be at the mercy of them.  God has created us as people who are able to express emotion, but not get carried away every time things are not how we want them to be.

When we are angry with someone, we can choose to calm down and not fly off the handle.  If someone has wronged us, we can forgive and not let it eat away at us. Even something as simple as wanting to give in to an impulse buy when we know we can’t afford it, or responding graciously when we lose a game and not allow our competitiveness to get the better of us.


Think of emotions as a roller coaster. We can choose to get on the roller coaster and let it control our ups and downs, or we can choose not to get on in the first place!

 

We are made to express emotion, without letting it run our lives

Dealing with times of frustration

Everyone experiences frustration at some time or another. Something doesn’t work out the way we want or we’re waiting for something and it’s taking a long time to arrive.  This is especially true when there’s nothing we can do about it, or any efforts to change the situation have failed. This leads to more frustration.

I listen to Joyce Meyer all the time and this blog is based on her teaching on the subject.  She came up with a great list which perfectly defines what frustration is:

Trying to do something about something we can’t do anything about
Trying to make something happen that only God can make happen
Trying to get something we don’t have but we have no ability to get it
Trying to get rid of something we DO have but no matter what it doesn’t go away

Sometimes frustrations are short term and quickly resolved or really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things:

  • Waiting for a train that is delayed
  • Queuing at the Supermarket check out when every other queue is going faster than yours and someone at the front of the queue is paying in cash and is trying to get the exact change out of their purse!
  • You’re driving somewhere and you’re in a hurry but you’re stuck behind someone who is going about 15 mph

But sometimes waiting for a situation to change can take a long time to happen and can really take it out of you. When it’s me, I first of all need to ask God whether I am not the cause of the delay.  Is God waiting for me to move? Has he told me to do something and I haven’t acted on it?  If I ask God if it’s me, He WILL answer!

Sometimes, however, we are not the cause and God just isn’t ready to change our situation yet.  Many Bible characters had to endure long times of waiting in unpleasant circumstances before God changed things: Joseph in prison; David running from Saul; Moses living in Midian for forty years.

God was doing a work in them whilst they were waiting. He was preparing them and changing them. The best thing I can do when in these times of trial and waiting is to co-operate with whatever He wants to do in me.

Joyce’s list of things to do at these times gives us some good pointers of how to work with God during the waiting game.

  • Pray and open the door for Him to work
  • Cast your care on Him and He will take care of you (Ps 55:22)
  • Be Patient
  • Keep a good confession
  • Call those things that are not as though they already were (Rom 4:17)
  • Believe what you have asked for in faith. We believe FIRST and then we see it (John 20:29)
  • Look beyond what you can see with your natural eye.

God is never late

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