Bible Study

May 2017
Do As You Have Said

Imagine David’s euphoria at this climax in his life. After the disappointment at Perezuzzah, it seems David searches Scripture and sought the face of God. As he drew near to God, God drew near to David. The celebration as the ark of God came to Jerusalem thrilled David’s soul. The people left praising God because he took on the gracious nature of God. David was had favor with God and with men. He had rest from his enemies. He was dwelling in a beautiful home. He was as a child before God, full of devotion and delight. The cherry is carefully placed on top when God promises to make David a house. Echoes of the Abrahamic covenant swell through God’s promise to David. David would not be able to put into words his elation and wonder at God’s blessing. He worships God privately and exclaims, “Do as thou hast said…and let thy name be magnified forever” (2 Samuel 7:25-26).

Give diligence to make your calling and election sure, Believer. For to you, God has given “exceeding great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:3-4). They are such because he is just. All that God does is balanced with equity. He does not bless on a whim nor recant on a whisper of a thought. If you confess your sin you have a promise, He will forgive you because He is just and righteous. His promises are great nad precious because He is gracious. It is by his grace you are saved. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Come boldly before the throne of grace in any time of need. The value of His promises is esteemed because of the purity of His character. He speaks the truth which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began. The guarantee of His promises renews each morning. Great is His faithfulness. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from our Father with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

May sincerity of heart saturate your worship for God has given unto you exceeding great and precious promises.

May 2017
The Preparation and Presentation of Worship

How much resemblance is there between worship today and worship in 1 Chronicles 15-16? David orchestrated such a festive and celebratory event with the Levites and musicians. There was clearly a plan in place. He instructed them to sanctify themselves. Their worship was conditioned with purity. Every six paces David offered a sacrifice to God. Before they even get to the act of praise, there has been more work done in preparation than in presentation.

Worship should never be a performance. I say it should be a presentation. Michal accused David of performing, but he clarified, “It was before the Lord” (2 Samuel 6:21). His worship was a gift, a presentation to God. I have seen church worship leaders with a beer in their hand Saturday evening. I have known of pastors fooling around during the week instead of preparing. However, many a worshipper in the church who leaves thinking, “I didn’t get much from the service today,” is guilty of the same fault. Lack of preparation equals a deficiency in worship. It is rare you get more out of worship than you put into it. How much preparation of your heart do you exercise before you worship? How much do you crave purity before you praise the King of Kings? Do you come with a heart full of grief and a hand empty of gift?

I would guess worship is 80% preparation before you even enter the house of worship. The exuberance you see as David leads Israel in worship is al natural. The closer your heart to God and the cleaner your heart is with God, your worship is exponentially more meaningful. How much are you willing to prepare for worship?

May 2017
Who Will Serve the King?

As you read through 1 Chronicles 12, did you catch the nationalism? The writer is bursting with pride as he recounts the grandeur of an age once upon a time. Frances Havergal also was moved by this passage as well. She wrote the song, “Who Is on the Lord’s Side?” expressing her loyalty to the King. The question for you this morning is this: Will you serve the King?

The chapter approaches folklore status as the most valiant and talented of all Israel yield their services to their king. With such a gathering of talent, David had to be a superb leader. In many ways he was, and his first orders of the state were to inquire after God and fight against God’s enemies. The key to leading a nation, even more, a league of talent resides within these two stories. The first story highlights an oversight the second highlights the power of proper reliance. David’s first desire was to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem. This truly was noble, but the transportation of the ark was a grizzly oversight. The oversight might have been linked to presumption which is this: All that matters is if you are doing a good thing; how you do it is inconsequential. Probably the chief nemesis of functional Christianity is doing good things, yet never considering the will of God. It really is a testimony to our own legacy. We desire to worship God, but we whittle it down to questions like, “What works in my community?” or “What style does the next generation appreciate?” We are parading God around on an ox cart. People desire to do a good thing, but when it gratifies some internal desire or tickles their ears, is it done for the right person? The dormant truth lying within each person is we naturally pursue our own desires instead of truly serving the King. When David’s good intention was rebuffed by God, he questioned, “How shall I bring the ark of God home to me” (1 Chronicles 13:12)? Does that not sound a little self-centered?

In the next chapter, David learned to rely upon God. This step-by-step reliance wisely counseled him to victory. David learned doing a good thing in itself is not satisfactory. Who are you serving? This is really the question. If you are serving the King, then you do what the King wants the way the King wants it. Doing a good thing and doing it God’s way yields reward. Don’t fill your life with good things to serve yourself. It is not about you. It’s about the King. Keep it about the King by doing it His way.

May 2017
For nearly six years, the world slogged through the Second World War. What a relief it must have been to hear the news of victory broadcasted over radios and printed in newspapers throughout the world. May 8, 1945, was Victory in Europe Day and September 2, 1945, was Victory over Japan Day. Both were filled with festivities, for the victors saw the enemies of liberty crumble and fall. Will those days ever be reversed? No, they are settled in the annals of history. No man or nation can ever take that victory away.
In 2 Samuel 23, you will find a fascinating record of King David’s most valiant men. Shammah was one of those men and he experienced a dark day. Philistines rushed into the land, terrorizing the people. While many fled and would have handed over the land to the enemy without a fight, Shammah stood his ground. He stood in the middle of a small plot of lentils and defended it. It did not matter what the ground was, He would not allow the enemy to take it without a fight. 2 Samuel 23:13 says, “The Lord wrought a great victory.”
While daily battling the faceless enemies in your spiritual battles, it is encouraging to know the end of the story. Their defeat is announced throughout the Bible. Paul really loved to encourage other believers to stay in the fight and not give up. He wrote, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:14). He also exclaimed, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). God gave all He had when He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross. Death was defeated. Satan’s time is drawing to a close. Is there anything that can rip us from the love of God? Can difficulties, hard times, persecutions, famine, nakedness, danger or violence? Can they take that away from you? They never can because it is already V-Day for every believer. “We are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). Just like Shammah, you can stand and protect the precious territory of your heart from the enemy. Stand valiantly in those evil days. Fight with the courage, for you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. He will work a great victory through you.

May 2017
The Story Continues

The book of Chronicles begins and you probably wonder when the names will stop. Imagine looking through a photo album, but not of your family. It is your neighbor’s or your friend’s album. Maybe you recognize a few faces because you grew up together, but that is the extent of your familiarity. In Chronicles, you are looking through someone else’s photo album. Each name contains a story. There are stories of celebration and distress, of wickedness and righteousness, of renown and obscurity.

Keep in mind the author’s intent. He was not writing a cure for insomnia. A few decades earlier, the Jews returned to Jerusalem after spending a few decades in exile. The promises of God were fulfilled. He did bring them back to Israel, which meant His other promises were also possible. The promise of a perfectly just ruler in Jerusalem from the line of David who would reign with unrivaled righteousness. All the nations of the earth would flood into Jerusalem to worship Him. The Messiah would sit on the throne. This chronicler is simply stimulating the hope of Israel.

By replaying all the known history via a catalog of names, the reader is to quickly refresh his memory of God’s work in times past. The accounts of King David and his sons builds the anticipation. The King is coming! In the Hebrew Bible, Chronicles is the last book. Can you appreciate the Jews excitement as you turn the last page of Chronicles and live out the incredible arrival of the Messiah in the Gospel accounts? The memories are fresh, the promise reviewed, the nation waits with bated breath as the forerunner announces the Messiah’s arrival. Can you also grasp their devastation as their Prince of Peace was not sitting on a throne, but hanging on a cross? The story continues. Just as the chronicler wrote, the future is bright because the promises of God are still alive and well. Get ready to herald the King’s entrance!

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:12-13).