All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘gordon duncan’

Evident Grace Sunday Recap for 12.23.18

0

Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

We pursued this Big Idea and these three points:

Big Idea: The End of Shame

Shame is about power.
Shame is not hopeless.

Jesus conquers shame.

Shame is about power
Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria

Caesar Augustus was the adopted son of Julius Caesar. He took the throne over Rome by defeating Marc Antony in a bloody battle in 31BC. In the background of this story is the famous story of Antony and Cleopatra. Antony was part of the ruling triumvirate. However he became infatuated with Egypt’s queen Cleopatra. When Antony became more concerned with Cleopatra than well-being of Rome, Caesar Augustus moved in.

When he took the throne, he mellowed becoming less bloody. He passed a lot of moral laws and proclaimed that he had brought justice and peace to the whole world. He then declared his Father, Julius Caesar to be divine thus making himself the Son of God. Poets wrote songs declaring him the savior of the world. He once issued this gospel: “Divine Caesar Augustus, son of God, imperator of land and sea, the benefactor and savior of the whole world, has brought you peace”

Caesar was about exercising his power and controlling people. That is the fertile ground for shame. Psychologist, Dr. Robin Smith, spoke about the power of having power over someone. She said, “I will define who you are and then I’ll make you believe that’s your definition.”

So how do we define ourselves?

By power over us?
By ourselves?
By our creator? Our designer.

The only way to for 1 and 2 not to make a problem, even when trusting 3 is to trust and pursue the scriptures.

Shame is not hopeless

3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

Both Mary and Joseph had received messages from God about the birth of Jesus. Mary in Luke and Josephs in Matthew. So, the census causing them to go to Bethlehem made sense b/c Micah 5:2 said that the savior would be born there. According to Matthew, Mary and Joseph were now married, but Matthew says that they did not consummate the marriage relationship until after Jesus birth, so she could still be called his “betrothed”. I think of Mary making that journey of 90 miles. Poor woman. Amy is on bedrest and getting up is a challenge some days. I can’t imagine riding on a donkey for 90 miles.

Retuning home is about confronting shame, especially because we return home or face family. But it was not hopeless for Mary and Joseph because they were ushering in the Savior of the world.

Jesus conquers shame

6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The conception was miraculous; the delivery was the normal painful birth of any delivery Wrapped him in swaddling cloths, laid him in a manger b/c there was no place in the inn You wonder why they didn’t stay with relatives? Maybe b/c Mary was a sinner? The idea of inn was a two story building. Sort of like a beach house. The second floor was where the people stayed and the first was where the animals were kept. This is probably where they stayed. As we know, the manger was a feeding trough for animals. Can you imagine? I remember how paranoid we were with our first child about germs.

In the midst of that, Jesus conquered our shame.

2 Cor. 8:9 – “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich.”

Jesus was born in a stable not a palace. He was laid in a manger not in cute crib or bassinette. This all spells poverty and deprivation. Allow Jesus to meet you in your most embarrassing and shame-filled moment.

Big Idea: The End of Shame

Shame is about power.
Shame is not hopeless.
Jesus conquers shame.


Truth: Shame wants you to think you are powerless. You are not. Jesus took your shame, and faith in Him conquers any shame that you or anyone else tries to put on you.
Application: Live knowing that Jesus defeated all your shame and wages war constantly and vigilantly to assure you of that fact.
Action: When you have shame-filled thoughts, write them out somewhere, maybe the notes on your phone. Then, erase them letter by letter thanking Jesus for His work on the cross.
I agree with our first commentator. He says, “We must imagine that God is using ordinary, dirty spaces as extraordinary sacred places for real evangelism.”

Sunday Recap for 120918

0

Sunday, December 9, 2018 Evident Grace Fellowship looked at Luke 2:1-7

Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

From those verses, we pursued this Big Idea:

Big Idea: The End of Shame

With that Big Idea, we looked at these three causes of shame:

Unkept Promises
Lack of Compassion
Humiliation

Cause of Shame: Unkept Promises
The End of Shame: God Keeps His Promises

Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

In the midst of suffering from an unmerciful Caesar who demanded his subjects to declare, “Caesar is Lord”, Mary and Joseph trudged home to be counted. In the midst of this, God uses the actions of this dictator to bring about the fulfillment of His promises from Isaiah 9 that a savior would born in Bethlehem.

Unkept promises from loved one and people in authority cause shame. Our unkept promises cause shame. God keeping his breaks that cycle. As we approach God, God doesn’t need our promises because we will break them. God needs our brokenness and need.

Cause of Shame: Lack of Compassion
The End of Shame: A Sympathetic Savior

6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.

The humanity of Jesus is important. In fact, owning his humanity as much as His deity is essential to our salvation. I think we lose an appreciation for His humanity but His humanness is as important as His deity. But we know from the scriptures that he was born, he grew, he got thirsty, he got tired, he got hungry. We need Jesus to be human. We need the compassion of a Savior who knows our every hurt, our every broken place.

Hebrews 2:17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Gregory of Nazianzus, the theologian who helped us understand the Trinity better than any other said this, “That which he has not assumed he has not healed.”

When we feel we lack this compassionate presence, we despair.

“We believe the most terrifying and destructive feeling that a person can experience is psychological isolation. This is not the same as being alone. It is a feeling that one is locked out of the possibility of human connection and of being powerless to change the situation. In the extreme, psychological isolation can lead to a sense of hopelessness and desperation. People will do almost anything to escape this combination of condemned isolation and powerlessness.” Brene Brown

Cause of Shame: Humiliation
The End of Shame: A Man of Sorrows

7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

No family or friends to take them in. Their child born in a stable. A scandalous reputation that they didn’t deserve. Homeless. Seemingly helpless. Your Savior endured this humiliation so that He may exalt you out of yours.

Big Idea: The End of Shame

Unkept Promises
Lack of Compassion
Humiliation

Truth: The lowly birth of Jesus is evidence that God keeps His promise to remove our shame.

Application: Live knowing that Jesus redeemed every discompassionate, humiliating, unkept promise that you have ever experienced.

Action: Ponder the end of your shame.

Evident Grace Reverse Advent Effort

0

EG Family and the Surrounding Community,

This past Sunday, our deacons announced our December “Reverse Advent” effort.

As you will see in the attached image, we are collecting canned and dried goods to replenish the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank. Often, local food banks are drained post-Christmas because of the demand and the decreased giving post-holiday season. We want to help eliminate their upcoming need.

Our desire is to bring all the food collected to our December 23rd worship service, place food up front, and pray for the families who will receive it. The YMCA will then connect with the Food Bank for a pickup following our service.

If you can’t make the 23rd service, we will let you now where the YMCA would like for us to store it until then. We will let you know that information as soon as we know it.

What we would like prior to the 23rd is to know how many families are participating. If you plan on participating, could you simply email Amy Duncan at [email protected] to let her know? Don’t worry; if you forget to email her, we can still accept the donations on the 23rd, but we would like to know how many families are participating.

Thanks so much in advance for caring for and serving these families.

Pastor Gordon

Sunday Recap for 12.02.18 The End of Shame

0

Sunday, December 2, 2018, Evident Grace looked at Isaiah 9:1-7:

Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy, they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

We used these verses to pursue our study of how Jesus’ advent means the end of shame. Understanding shame is so important.

“The less we understand shame and how it affects our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, the more power it exerts over our lives. However, if we can find the courage to talk about shame and the compassion to listen, we can change the way we live, love, parent, work, and build relationships.” Brene Brown

Big Idea the End of Shame

Contempt
Darkness
Peace

The context of our passage:

Isaiah 8:22 They will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

Contempt

Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

Contempt is the disease of sin and shame. Contempt is what continues when we have ongoing shame that isn’t removed. This was the state of Israel and our state when shame remains.

Darkness

2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy, they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder

The promise of the removal of shame comes in the form of the birth of Jesus. The birth of Jesus would lead the people out of the darkness. Instead of shame, there will be an increase of joy as the harvest. There will be an increase of gladness. The burden of oppressors will be removed and replaced with the light yoke of Jesus. Their war will come to an end, and it will be replaced with the government of Jesus whose reign will know no end.

A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick. Brene Bown

Peace

And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Jesus will usher in a time of peace and will be our wonderful, non-shaming, counselor. His peace and government will know no end. And God is eager to do this on our behalf.

Big Idea the End of Shame

Contempt
Darkness
Peace

Truth: Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, and our Prince of Peace. He alone can remove our contempt and shame. He alone gives us peace.

Application: Live knowing that there is hope for your shame, and it is found only in the person of Jesus.

Action: Jesus despises shame. He took yours for you. Pray that God would help you believe this. Pray that God protect you from adding to the shame that Jesus removed.

Practical verses to live this out.

Jesus 12:2 Look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

2 Corinthians 7:9-11 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

Sunday Recap for 11.25.18 Introduction to the Book of Romans

0

Introduction to the Book of Romans

James Montgomery Boice: “We cling to man-centered, need-oriented teaching. And our churches show it! They are successful in worldly terms – big buildings, big budgets, big everything – but they suffer a poverty of the soul. All this means, in my judgment at least, that it is time to get back to the basic, life-transforming doctrines of Christianity – which is to say that is time to rediscover Romans.” 10th Pres Massive Church

Swiss theologian Frederick Godet: “Every great spiritual revival in the church will be connected as effect and cause with a deeper understanding of this book.”

Martin Luther: “I had no love for that holy and just God who punished sinners. I was filled with secret anger against him. I hated him because he was not content with frightening (by the law and the miseries of life) us wretched sinners. Already ruined by original sin, he still further increased our tortures by the Gospel.

But when, by the Spirit of God, I understood the words – when I learned how the justification of the sinner proceeds from the free mercy of our Lord through faith, then I felt born again like a new man. In very truth, this language of Paul (in Romans) was to me the true gate of paradise.”

Provenance:

Was the church of a church plant or an established church? Well, they were a lot like us, maybe a bit older but not too young.

When Paul wrote this epistle to the church in Rome, that congregation must have already been in existence for a number of years, for Paul writes that he had desired to visit them “these many years” (15:23).

To him this church was strong enough to help him carry out further missionary activities. They are not called recent converts; they are not treated as having been improperly instructed, but seem to have been an organized and well-grounded congregation (15:14, “filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another”).

The epistle deals with no major error in the church; nor does it have to deal with organizational principles. It was a church that was universally famous (1:8), and not merely because it was in Rome.

The Roman church was a group that had a large Jewish element, but was also filled with Gentile converts from paganism, both free as well as slaves. How the church in Rome was started is unclear. The Roman Catholic view is that Peter founded it; another view is that Roman Christians from Pentecost in Jerusalem made their way there. But it may simply be that several Christian families or groups from Pauline churches in the East settled in Rome and grew together.

According to the end of the book, there were several congregations meeting in the city. At the outbreak of Neronian persecutions, Tacitus says that the Christians in Rome were “an immense multitude.”

Based on the material from Acts and the Corinthian epistles, the Book of Romans clearly indicates that it was written from Corinth on Paul’s third missionary journey.

Paul had never visited Rome; but after fulfilling his mission of mercy to Jerusalem, he hoped to go to Rome en route to Spain (Rom. 15:23-25).

At any rate, the date of the book is probably 60 A.D.
One generation after the resurrection of Jesus and Pentecost.
4 years prior to Nero’s persecution of the church.
10 years before Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD.

Outline

I. The Revelation of Righteousness (1:1-17)
II. Justification with God (1:18—5:11)
III. Union with Christ (5:12—8:39)
IV. The Sovereign of God & His Relationship with Israel
V. Application of God’s Work (12:1—15:13)
VI. Conclusion, (15:14—16:27)

Significant Verses and Themes in the First Half of the Book

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Romans 3:27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Evident Grace Sunday Recap for 07.22.18 Big Idea: God Blesses Those Who Read His Word

0

Sunday, July 22, 2018, Evident Grace looked at Psalm 1:

Psalm 1: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers. 

4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.  5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

From those verses, we pursued this Big Idea:

Big Idea:  God’s word gives fruit, prosperity, and rest.

Psalm 1: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

God promises blessings to any who do not sit in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers.  Instead, God blesses those who delight in the law of the Lord.  Essentially, God is calling us away from the counsel of those who do not know Him and promises to bless us when we seek counsel from Him.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers.

The blessings of delighting in God’s law is similar to a tree planted by a stream of water.  Just as the tree has a constant source of nutrients, so a person who delights in God’s law has a constant source of blessing.

4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.  5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Those who do not have a relationship with God are blown away like dry chaff  They will not stand before God as those who have great faith will.

 

Mission #1:  Studying the Scriptures is a direct avenue to receiving God’s blessings.

Mission #2:  Not studying the Scriptures is a direct avenue to being deceived by others.

Mission #3 Enjoy the Prosperity of God by hiding scriptures in your heart so that you might persevere and not whither during difficult and tempting times.

Mission #4:  Let God’s intimate knowing of you motivate you to know Him better in His scriptures.

Sunday Recap 07.15.18 Big Picture Question: What are Your Options When You are Bitter?

0

Sunday, July 15th, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 22:

1 Samuel 22:1 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.

3 And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.” 4 And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5 Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.

6 Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.” 9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, 10 and he inquired of the Lord for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.

11 Then the king sent to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests who were at Nob, and all of them came to the king. 12 And Saul said, “Hear now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” 13 And Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?” 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, “And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, and captain over your bodyguard, and honored in your house? 15 Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? No! Let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father, for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little.” 16 And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.” 17 And the king said to the guard who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me.” But the servants of the king would not put out their hand to strike the priests of the Lord. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. 19 And Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; both man and woman, child and infant, ox, donkey and sheep, he put to the sword.

20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 And David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father’s house. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”

From those verses, we pursued this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  What are your options when you are bitter?

We found these three answers to that question:

Gather in a Community of Hope

Inflict Pain and Isolate

Take Responsibility

Gather in a community for hope

1 Samuel 22:1 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men. 3 And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.” 4 And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5 Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.

David is on the run from King Saul.  He seeks shelter in a cave, and everyone else in the area who was also distressed joined him.  He has people who have been hurt by others, and he has people who are responsible for their own problems (debt).  They gather together under David’s leadership.  This is one hopeful approach to warding off bitterness – gathering together in community.

Inflict Pain and Isolate Yourself

6 Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.” 9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, 10 and he inquired of the Lord for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.

11 Then the king sent to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests who were at Nob, and all of them came to the king. 12 And Saul said, “Hear now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” 13 And Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?” 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, “And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, and captain over your bodyguard, and honored in your house? 15 Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? No! Let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father, for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little.” 16 And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.” 17 And the king said to the guard who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me.” But the servants of the king would not put out their hand to strike the priests of the Lord. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. 19 And Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; both man and woman, child and infant, ox, donkey and sheep, he put to the sword.

King Saul throws a royal hissy fit.  He is upset that people don’t like him.  He is upset people like David.  He is upset that his son helps David.  When he finds out that Ahimelech helped David, he kills Ahimelech and 85 priests.

We don’t kill people when we are bitter, but we do lash out verbally to people and we seclude ourselves from them.  These things only compound bitterness instead of moving us towards healing and grace.

Take Responsibility

20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 And David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father’s house. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”

David is responsible for the death of Ahimelech and 85 priests.  Instead of wallowing in guilt and bitterness, he takes responsibility for his actions and his sin.  Taking responsibility moves us away from bitterness.  It keeps us from going deeper and deeper in despair.

So what do we do with bitterness?

Big Picture Question:  What are your options when you are bitter? 

Truth:  Bitterness is an indication of a hardened heart and a retreat from Godly community.

Application:  Live knowing that when we take comfort in the love of Christ and shelter in a Godly community, we are able to grow in faith and avoid bitterness.

Action:  Take time this week to journal through a bitter situation.  Ask these questions:

What circumstance in your past has been the most difficult to reconcile?

What circumstance presently tempts your heart towards bitterness?

Is there a circumstance or relationship that tempts you to think that the grace of Jesus is insufficient?

Pray through Ephesians 4:25-32.

Ephesians 4: 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Sunday Recap 07.08.18 Big Idea: Our heroes are just like us.  We all need a Savior.

0

Sunday, July 8th, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 21:

1 Samuel 21:1 Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” 2 And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. 3 Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” 4 And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5 And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” 6 So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. His name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s herdsmen. 8 Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” 9 And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.”

10 And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” 12 And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

From those verses, we discussed the tension between our identity and the realities of our life in light of this Big Idea:

Big Idea:  Our heroes are just like us.  We all need a Savior.

From that Big Idea, we looked at these 3 points:

We struggle to trust God.

We trust our own strength

We trust our own wisdom

 

We struggle to trust God.

1 Samuel 21:1 Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” 2 And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. 3 Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” 4 And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5 And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” 6 So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

David is on the run from King Saul.  He is tired, lonely, homeless, and hungry.  When David arrives to Nob, the priest asks him why he is there.  David flat out lies.  He says he is on a mission from Saul and then asks for something to eat.  The priest would then allow him and feel compelled to give him whatever food was there, even if David wasn’t allowed to have it.  In David’s trials, he struggles to trust God and lies.

Why do we lie when we struggle?  We lie because we fear that the truth won’t get us what we want.  We think out lie is better than God’s truth.  We think lying will enable us to control the situation.  David doing just that.  He is hungry and on the run.  He needs food.  He lies to get it.

We trust our own strength

7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. His name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s herdsmen.

8 Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” 9 And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.”

There is nothing wrong with David gaining the sword of Goliath.  It is his after all.  The problem is he uses the lie of being on the king’s business to gain it.  David is on the run.  He is lying about what he is doing, and he is trusting his own strength.

We trust our own wisdom

10 And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?”

12 And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

King Achish is hesitant to have David in his kingdom.  He knows David is the anointed king of Israel and he knows that Davis is a mighty warrior.  For all he knows, David might try to overthrow him.  David is aware of this, so David begins to act like a madman to avoid any conflict.  King Achish doesn’t want him around.  He says he has enough madmen already.

David again is trusting his own wisdom in his time on the run.

What is wisdom?  Well, knowledge is knowing facts, wisdom is properly applying them.  How then do we gain wisdom?  James tells us.

James 1: 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

God gladly gives wisdom to those who ask and believe that He will give it.  God doesn’t despise us for needing wisdom.  He just calls us to believe that He will grant it to us.

2 Peter 1: 2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,  and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ

2 Peter helps us understand this wisdom that we need. As we grow in our knowledge of Jesus, His divine power gives us everything we need to live.  What we need comes from his great promises.  Once we have them, those great promises enable us to add things like self-control and steadfastness to our lives.  All of these things come from our knowing our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Big Idea:  Our heroes are just like us.  We all need a Savior.

Truth:  God uses Godly people who struggle just like we do, but their struggles, along with our own, should create an affection for our Savior, Jesus.

Application:  Live knowing that your struggle to trust God is intended to make you thankful for the love of Jesus, not fearful that you will lose it.

Action:  Pray for and support your church leaders as they struggle along with you to trust Jesus.

 

Evident Grace Fellowship Relaunches Its Men’s Ministry on 07.14.18

0

Red button labeled with the word relaunch.

What is missing from most men’s ministries?  To sum it up, I would say “intentionalism”.

In literary theory, intentionalism is when you judge a piece of literature by the intent the author had for it.  For example, when reading Shakespeare, you would ask, “What did Shakespeare intend for us to take away from this play?”  The opposite of this approach is functionalism.  Functionalism is when you take away whatever meaning you want from a play.  Both have their place in works of art, but not when it comes to scripture.  When we read scripture, we need to ask what God intended.  When we read the words of Jesus, we need to ask what Jesus intended by those words.

For example, when you read the words of Jesus, you could ask, “What is it that Jesus wanted for His followers?  What were the intentions of his teaching?”  While there is plenty of debate, there is one theme that runs through much of Jesus’ teaching.  It is the conclusion of His teaching in the Gospels:

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. 

Making disciples is the intent of Jesus’ teaching, and Evident Grace Fellowship wants to enable our men to do just that.  For those reasons, we have reshaped the men’s ministry and are relaunching it on July 14th.  Here is what to expect.

Where and When:  The men will meet quarterly.  Our first gathering will be at Gordon’s home (enter the basement through the back door) from 9am until 12pm.  If you need directions, reach out to Gordon at [email protected] or call him at 919-412-8161.

Men, if you can’t make our first get together, but you would like to be a part of the intermeeting get togethers (explained below), just email Gordon at [email protected].

Gordon

Sample Men’s Ministry Gathering

Gathering:  30 minutes

Purpose:  Men rarely jump into intimacy or comfortability.  This gathering time is a time where men can grab some food and coffee and catch up.  Following this casual time, our leader/moderator will walk the men through checking in with high’s and low’s.  This will serve a very similar function as the prior Bushiban structure.

Setting Purpose:  5 minutes

Purpose:  Our leader/moderator will outline our expectations for each gathering as well as the resulting expectations to follow in the following months. Men are encouraged to meet these expectations.

Talk:  30 minutes

Purpose:   Each gathering, our speaker will address a topic from a biblical perspective around one of four areas:  faith, fitness, family, and finances.  The message is intended to be fiercely biblical, gospel-rich, inherently challenging, and practically tangible to the Christian man status quo.

Sample Topic:  What’s at stake when we are financially unfaithful. In this, there would be a talk surrounding several key passages about financial obedience.  For example, I have used this outline (not my own) before:

The Responsibility for Planning:  Without planning based on biblical values, goals, and priorities, money becomes a hard taskmaster and, like a leaf caught up in a whirlwind, we get swept into the world’s pursuit of earthly treasures (Luke 12:13-23; 1 Tim. 6:6-10).

Financial planning is biblical and is a means to good stewardship, to freedom from the god of materialism, and a means of protection against the waste of the resources God has entrusted to our care (Prov. 27:23-24; Luke 14:28; 1 Cor. 14:40).

Financial planning should be done in dependence on God’s direction and in faith while we rest in Him for security and happiness rather than in our own strategies (Prov. 16:1-4, 9; Psalm 37:1-10; 1 Tim. 6:17; Phil. 4:19).

The Responsibility for Discipline:  If our financial planning is to work, it will require discipline and commitment so our plans are translated into actions. We must follow through on our good intentions (Prov. 14:23). Financial faithfulness is an important aspect of complete, well-rounded spiritual growth and godliness (2 Cor. 8:7). But godliness requires discipline (cf. 1 Tim. 4:8; 6:3-8).

Good intentions are useless without plans that translate them into actions. The Corinthians had indicated their desire and willingness to give and had even been instructed on planned giving (1 Cor. 16:1-2), yet they had failed to follow through on their good intentions (2 Cor. 8:10-11).

The Responsibility for Stewardship:  Financial faithfulness ultimately flows out of the recognition that everything we are and have belongs to the Lord (1 Chron. 29:11-16; Rom. 14:7-9; 1 Cor. 6:19-20). Life is a temporary sojourn in which Christians are to see themselves as aliens, temporary residents, who are here as stewards of God’s manifold grace. All we are and have—our talents, time, and treasures—are trusts given to us by God which we are to invest for God’s kingdom and glory (1 Pet. 1:17; 2:11; 4:10-11; Luke 19:11-26).

The Responsibility for Working:  One of God’s basic ways to provide for our needs is through work—an occupation through which we earn a living so we can provide for ourselves and our families (2 Thess. 3:6-12; Prov. 25:27).

The money we earn is also to be used as a means of supporting God’s work and helping those in need, first in God’s family and then for those outside the household of faith (Gal. 6:6-10; Eph. 4:28; 3 John 5-8).

Guided Group Questions:  10-15 minutes

Purpose:  Refining any loose thoughts remaining from the talk as well as guiding the men towards breaking up into one on one conversations.  This should be prepared ahead of time while also making room for organic follow ups.  The speaker will provide a list of questions for the breakouts.  These questions should be talk specific and also personally applicable.  There should also be guided prayer topics.

Breakouts:  30-45 minutes

Purpose:  Diving deeper into the talk while also establishing a relationship between the two men.  Note:  if there is an odd number of men, the leader/moderator evens that number out.  The leader/moderator determines these groups of two.

Expectations:  These men will open their time in prayer.  If they don’t know each other, they will spend a few minutes getting to know each other.  If they do know each other, they will catch up.  After a few minutes, they will work through the questions with each other.  Finally, the men pray together and establish their get together times and places.  It is greatly encouraged to leave that meeting with the next get together on the books.

Conclusion:  5 minutes

Purpose:  To bring the men back together, thank the host, and remind the men of their commitment before the next meeting.

Intermeeting Commitments:

Purpose:  To deepen relationships among the men in the church while growing them in their relationships with Christ.

Expectations:  The men will meet 3-6 times between men’s quarterly meetings.  The encouragement is to meet at least every other week.  These groups of two will officially end at the next men’s gathering, but they can of course continue if desired.

 

Sunday Recap for 07.01.18 Big Picture Question: Big Picture Question:  What are the blessings of faithfully kept covenants?

0

Sunday, July 1, 2018, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 20:

1 Samuel 20:1 Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?” 2 And he said to him, “Far from it! You shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. And why should my father hide this from me? It is not so.” 3 But David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he thinks, ‘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 Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 5 David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit at table with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field till the third day at evening. 6 If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city, for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the clan.’ 7 If he says, ‘Good!’ it will be well with your servant, but if he is angry, then know that harm is determined by him. 8 Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. But if there is guilt in me, kill me yourself, for why should you bring me to your father?” 9 And Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! If I knew that it was determined by my father that harm should come to you, would I not tell you?” 10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you roughly?” 11 And Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field.” So they both went out into the field.

12 And Jonathan said to David, “The Lord, the God of Israel, be witness! When I have sounded out my father, about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if he is well disposed toward David, shall I not then send and disclose it to you? 13 But should it please my father to do you harm, the Lord do so to Jonathan and more also if I do not disclose it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. May the Lord be with you, as he has been with my father. 14 If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the Lord, that I may not die; 15 and do not cut off your steadfast love from my house forever, when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 And Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord take vengeance on David’s enemies.” 17 And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul.

18 Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 On the third day go down quickly to the place where you hid yourself when the matter was in hand, and remain beside the stone heap. 20 And I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. 21 And behold, I will send the boy, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, take them,’ then you are to come, for, as the Lord lives, it is safe for you and there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the youth, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go, for the Lord has sent you away. 23 And as for the matter of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever.”

24 So David hid himself in the field. And when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 The king sat on his seat, as at other times, on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat opposite, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty.

26 Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him. He is not clean; surely he is not clean.” 27 But on the second day, the day after the new moon, David’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has not the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, for our clan holds a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled 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, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” 32 Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. 34 And Jonathan rose 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 disgraced him.

35 In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him a little boy. 36 And he said to his boy, “Run and find the arrows that I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 And when the boy came to the place of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the boy and said, “Is not the arrow beyond you?” 38 And Jonathan called after the boy, “Hurry! Be quick! Do not stay!” So Jonathan’s boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. 39 But the boy knew nothing. Only Jonathan and David knew the matter. 40 And Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, “Go and carry them to the city.” 41 And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most. 42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.

From those verses, we pursued this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  What are the blessings of faithfully kept covenants?

We found these answers to that question:

Faithfully kept covenants give assurance.

Faithfully kept covenants give protection

Faithfully kept covenants give peace

Faithfully kept covenants give assurance.

I Samuel 20:1 Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?” 2 And he said to him, “Far from it! You shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. And why should my father hide this from me? It is not so.” 3 But David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he thinks, ‘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 Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 5 David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit at table with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field till the third day at evening. 6 If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city, for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the clan.’ 7 If he says, ‘Good!’ it will be well with your servant, but if he is angry, then know that harm is determined by him. 8 Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. But if there is guilt in me, kill me yourself, for why should you bring me to your father?” 9 And Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! If I knew that it was determined by my father that harm should come to you, would I not tell you?” 10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you roughly?” 11 And Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field.” So they both went out into the field.

David knows that King Saul wants to kill him, so he asks his friend, Jonathan who is Saul’s son, why Saul is so determined.  Jonathan promises that he will let David know if Saul is making plans to kill him.  Since Jonathan and David have a covenantal relationship, this commitment between the two of them provides an assurance to both.  They each can be assured of the other’s commitment to each other.

Faithfully kept covenants give protection

12 And Jonathan said to David, “The Lord, the God of Israel, be witness!  When I have sounded out my father, about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if he is well disposed toward David, shall I not then send and disclose it to you? 13 But should it please my father to do you harm, the Lord do so to Jonathan and more also if I do not disclose it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. May the Lord be with you, as he has been with my father.

14 If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the Lord, that I may not die; 15 and do not cut off your steadfast love from my house forever, when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 And Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord take vengeance on David’s enemies.” 17 And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul.

18 Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 On the third day go down quickly to the place where you hid yourself when the matter was in hand, and remain beside the stone heap. 20 And I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. 21 And behold, I will send the young man, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to the young man, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, take them,’ then you are to come, for, as the Lord lives, it is safe for you and there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the youth, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go, for the Lord has sent you away. 23 And as for the matter of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever.”

24 So David hid himself in the field. And when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 The king sat on his seat, as at other times, on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat opposite, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty.

26 Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him. He is not clean; surely he is not clean.” 27 But on the second day, the day after the new moon, David’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has not the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, for our clan holds a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled 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, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” 32 Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. 34 And Jonathan rose 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 disgraced him.

Jonathan plans a way to protect David.  When the new moon festival begins, David won’t be there.  Jonathan will explain to Saul that David is visiting his family.  If Saul gets mad and wants to kill David, Jonathan will let him know by shooting arrows a certain way.  That’s exactly what happens.  Saul knows that Jonathan and David are committed to each other.  Saul tries to kill Jonathan, Jonathan escapes, and he needs to tell David what’s going on.  But Jonathan provides protection for David, because had David been there, he most assuredly would have been killed.

Faithfully kept covenants give peace

35 In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him a little boy. 36 And he said to his boy, “Run and find the arrows that I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 And when the boy came to the place of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the boy and said, “Is not the arrow beyond you?” 38 And Jonathan called after the boy, “Hurry! Be quick! Do not stay!” So Jonathan’s boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. 39 But the boy knew nothing. Only Jonathan and David knew the matter. 40 And Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, “Go and carry them to the city.” 41 And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most.

42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city. 

Jonathon shoots the arrows to tell David that Saul wants to kill him. They run to each other, embrace, kiss, and weep.  Jonathan promises David that the Lord will be between them, will protect them, while they are apart, and David escaped.  They can go their separate ways in peace know that the each is looking out for the other.

Jesus kept the covenant of God faithfully.  He obeyed for us, died for us, and rose again for us.  Because of those things, we also have assurance, protection, and peace.  What does that look like?  Romans 8 tells us.

Romans 8: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Big Picture Question:  What are the blessings of faithfully kept covenants?

Truth:  God’s covenantal faithfulness give His people an assurance of protection and peace.

Application:  Live knowing that you are moment by moment protected from both your sin and the wrath of God because of Jesus’ faithful obedience, His death on the cross, and His resurrection.

Action:  Pray against every earthly fear in your life asking God to replace it with faith, assurance, and peace.   

Page 1 of 3123»
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!