Tag Archives: David

God Uses Everything

Peninsula Community Church 

God Uses Everything 

August 19, 2018 

1 Samuel 17:31-37 When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him. And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”

Today, we continue our study of the Old Testament battles. The goal is to understand how these battles prepare us to do battle against an enemy that is very real and powerful. It seems that we either deny or minimize his existence, or we see and blame the enemy for everything. The truth is we have an enemy who is battling us, but the battle is not ours, it is the Lord’s. It has been and will continue to be His battle. When we fight His battle, His way, we will always be successful. We saw this with Moses, with Joshua, with Gideon, and today we see this with David. 

Our focus will be on how God uses our past experiences to effect positive outcomes in the present. He uses our past successes and experiences to empower us to be victorious in the present. As a shepherd in the desert, David was prepared to face the giant of the battlefield. David’s confidence was secure in what He had witnessed God do in the past. That confidence  allowed David to step up and beat the giant with the simplicity of a sling shot and a stone. 

As we dig into this story, we find that the Philistines had been tormenting the Israelites. There has been no real fighting, only words had been exchanged. Most of the verbal attacks had come from Goliath, who was a giant of a man. He was 6 cubits and a span. In English, that means that he was about 9 foot, six inches tall. It has been suggested that he may have had the blood of  the Anakites who were considered to be giants in their day. In Deuteronomy 9:1-2, we find God warns them they would encounter giants, and Goliath was just such a person. How big was Goliath? He was big enough to handle a shield that weighed 78 pounds and the shaft of his spear weighed 15 pounds. He wielded these things as if they were nothing at all. It is noteworthy that he was well armored for a giant, which is interesting to me. As a giant he could probably take anyone single handedly, and yet he still stood behind his armor. 

Notice what Goliath did. He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid (1 Samuel 17:8-11).

Two points are worth mentioning here. First, the enemy is good at taunting us. He is good at slinging insults and accusations at us. After all, he is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). He knows that if he can accuse us long enough we will succumb to the feelings of fear and defeat. In this case, Israel was already defeated because they refused to confront Goliath. They were intimidated and neutralized to the point of inaction. They allowed the accusations the enemy to defeat them before they even entered the battle. Psychologists tell us that when confronted by issues, we will resolve them by flight, fight, or we will freeze. In this case, Israel was frozen to the point of inaction because of fear and intimidation.

Second, Goliath used compromises and purported agreements to discourage and defeat the children of Israel. He was trying to get Israel to agree to something that would place them under bondage to the Philistines for life. For Goliath, it was all or nothing. He assumed that whoever they would match up with him would be defeated, and it would be easy to place them under bondage to the Philistines. Our problem is that we often make agreements with the enemy that cause us to be in bondage to his ways. 

Now let’s contrast David to the army of Israel. David was the son of Jessie. He was the youngest of seven brothers. David’s three oldest brothers had already joined Saul’s army and as a concerned father, Jesse would send David to his brothers on a regular basis. This served a twofold purpose. For one, Jesse could shuttle food and provisions to them, but this also gave Jesse an opportunity to check up on the brothers vicariously through David. For David, this was an opportunity to be close to the army, so he could see what was happening on the battlefield. It was on one of these trips that our story unfolds and God’s will is played out for David and Israel. 

When David saw what was happening and as he listened to the threats of Goliath, he was inspired to take down the giant. This was met with accusations and laughter which lead Saul to meet with David where he rejected David’s idea because he was too young. David countered this false perception of his youth by expressing to Saul what qualified him for the role. David began to detail the number of times that God intervened on his behalf when he was watching his father’s sheep. He shared the times a bear and a lion had come to take one of the sheep. Through God’s power and strength he attacked and killed the predator. This empowered him with a confidence in God, and in that confidence, he could overcome the giant that was now battling the Israelites. His experiences had taught him well, and had prepared Him for this moment in time.

Saul agreed to allow David to fight Goliath. We know the story, he offers David his armor which would not fit David. Saul was trying to fit David into his way of fighting but that was not David’s way and it certainly was not God’s way. David rejected the armor of Saul and proceeds to take five stones from the stream near by. These were carefully chosen stones that would be used to deliver the death blow to Goliath. As he approached Goliath, Goliath tormented him and spewed slurs against him. 

What does David do? First, he proclaims the majesty of God. “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. (1 Samuel 17:45-46). He then loads the sling with a stone and winds up his arm and let’s the stone go. It struck Goliath in the forehead and he fell dead before the Israelites and the Philistines. Why? It is because David came in the might and power of God.

As we close, let me give you three things about David’s experiences that are applicable to us. First, our experiences build faith and confidence in us. David overcame the lion and bear through the strength of God’s power. Listen to David’s words in 1 Samuel 17:36-37. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” God will fight our battles. We can look back to see battles already won in our life. That gives us faith and courage to face any new battle that comes our way. So what bear or lion have destroyed because of God’s strength. Paul understood this and we see his confidence in expressed in 2 Corinthians 1:10. Paul stated He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. That is the confidence we have. What He has done in the past, He will do again. He has delivered us, and He will do it again.

Second, God never wastes anything. No matter how bad or how horrible the events of our past might be, God can use them for His glory. Remember the story of Joseph. He could have lashed out at his brothers, and he had every right to harm them. He did not do that because his experiences had taught him to trust God and walk in forgiveness. His experiences had taught him about the bigness of God. Listen to Joseph’s own words in Genesis 50:20. As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Our experiences will cause us to be bitter or better. It is our choice.

  

Third, the intervention of God in our experiences show the world the majesty and supremacy of God in our lives. The army was afraid and frozen and stood before Goliath without any action on their part. David, as a result of his experiences and his witness to the power of God to kill the lion and the bear, was able to step up when everyone else was frozen with fear. When we step out in faith and confidence because of battles already won, those around us will take notice and God will get the glory. 

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14

Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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Second Chances

Peninsula Community Church 

Second Chances

November 12, 2017

Jeremiah 18:5-8 Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.

Over the last couple of weeks, we have been looking at the potter and the clay. In our study, thus far, we found that God has a purpose and He has a plan for each of us. The question today, however, is what happens when that plan goes awry. What if we fail? What if we fall short? What if we blow it big time? What if we become unfocused and fall into sin or into a failure that feels insurmountable. The reality is, if we are honest, I am sure that we would all have to admit we have been in need of a second chance. We have needed a do over.

I believe this passage shows us, there are two ways to approach God. I also believe how we interpret this passage will be determined by our view of God. If we view God as a mean, angry God, then we will focus on the destruction God planned. If we view God as a loving, forgiving God, then we will focus on His forgiveness and His power to give a second chance. For me, I choose the later and I choose to see God as the God of the second chance.

Through this passage, we come to a conclusion that, sometimes, God allows difficulties to come in order to move us toward His purpose and His plan. These difficulties can overwhelm us and can cause great pain. The truth is, these difficulties come most often because we failed to follow God’s plan, His will, and His way. We also see that these things are never meant to destroy us, but to direct us back to Him. That is where our view of God makes a difference in our approach to God.

When we view God as a loving and forgiving God, we will know that when we see failure and hopelessness, God sees new beginnings. We see mistakes and failures that throw us off track and derail our dreams, but God sees fresh starts. We see the mess we have made, but God sees an opportunity to renew and rebuild us. The enemy’s lie has been and continues to be that we are unforgivable and that we are too far gone to receive God’s grace and love. The enemy’s lie is that we will be forever in the place of despair, because that is just the way it is.

As I was preparing for this message, I thought about the game of golf. In golf, there is what is called a mulligan. A mulligan is a chance for a do over. For those who are golfers, you know how it works. You hit a bad shot and you have the right to hit another ball. The goal is to make your second shot much better than your first shot. It is a second chance. It is a do over. Just like golf, God offers us a mulligan in life. He overs us a do over. He offers us a chance to get it right and do a better job by His grace.

As we think about this subject, we find that Scripture is filled with those who experienced second chances. Let’s take a moment to look at a couple of these. First, we have King David who was a murderer, a liar, and an adulterer (2 Samuel 11). David the called of God. David the one who had it all, failed big time. He took Bathsheba and through an ungodly relationship, she became pregnant. To make matters worse, he tried to hide the sin by having her husband come home and give him some time with his wife, so he would think it was his child. When that did not work, he arranged to position her husband on the front lines where he was sure to be killed. Then the “kind and gracious king” could take her as his wife, thereby hiding his indiscretion.

As we read the story, we find that his sin grew deeper and began to effect more and more people. That is the problem of sin. It grows deeper and it has a larger reach than we might ever imagine. But, here is the amazing thing, although his sin seemed to be too great, he was able to experience the grace of the God and was given a second chance. How do we know this? We find that God sent Nathan to speak into David’s life to bring change (2 Samuel 12:1-15). God used Nathan. David came to his senses when he realized the magnitude of his sin.

Here, David was at a crossroads. He could receive the message of grace or he could reject God. I often wonder about David! What was his mental state? Had he reached a point where he felt he had made it into the clear and that he was successful in his ruse and cover up. Too often, we think we have done a good job of hiding our sin only to find it is exposed later, and sometimes it is exposed when we least expect it. For David, I wonder if he was dealing with the weight of what he had done. I wonder if he felt the weight of his sin. Regardless, what we do know is that David confessed, repented, and was given a second chance (Psalms 51).

The second illustration is Jonah who walked in disobedience. Remember Jonah. He was called to the people of Ninevah, but rather than obeying, he ran to Joppa (Jonah 1:1-3). Now to be honest, his reason for running was justified in one sense. Ninevah was one of the major cities in the kingdom of Assyria. The people of Assyria and the city Ninevah were horrific people. They were brutal people. They would skin people alive. They would cut their enemies up in pieces and then send them to their families and cities with notes warning that this would be their fate, if they messed with them. They would cut the heads of the opposing kings off and parade them around their victory celebrations.

In Jonah’s rebellion, he boarded a ship and headed to Joppa. He ran from God, but God sent a storm. The men on board, who were not believers, began to call to their gods, as the storm was more fierce than any storm they had faced. The decision was made to throw Jonah overboard when they recognized his disobedience had caused the problem (Jonah 1:4-16). Then God brought a whale along to swallow Jonah (Jonah 1:17). Three days he was in the whale’s belly. For three days, Jonah had an opportunity to think about his future and his destiny. On the third day, the whale had gotten tired of Jonah and he was vomited upon the shore (Jonah 2:10). Jonah then ran to Niniveh, preached the word of the Lord, and the whole city came to know God (Jonah 3:4-5). He was given a second chance.

And then we have Peter, who was filled with fear. How many times have we fallen short or failed to accomplish God’s will because we are filled with fear? Peter was overcome by the fear of the people in Jerusalem. He was worried about his future and he was worried about how the judgement against Christ would impact him. Although he failed and was motivated by fear, he was given a second chance. Jesus went to him specifically after the resurrection and called Peter to feed his sheep (John 24:15-19). We see the fulfillment of that throughout the Books of Acts.

So, how should we respond to the second chances of our lives? First, we must repent. To repent means that there is a change of action that leads to a change of heart. We must remember there is a big difference between repentance and confession. Confession is important, but it is not the end all. Confession puts things on the table, but does not bring healing. We live in a nation of confessors, but not so many repenters. Repenters not only confess their sin, but they work toward change. When God honors you with a second chance, by His grace, we need to take advantage of that and change, so that the recurring sin or issue does not continue to happen. Billy Graham noted that we cannot know the God of the second chance unless we recognize the wrong we have done or the sin we have committed. We also need to be aware that God’s grace is not a get out of jail free card. We must never cheapen God’s grace by continuing to recklessly commit acts that diminish who we are in Christ and wound ourselves or others.

Second, we change what we can change. Too often, we are trying to change things that are beyond our power to change. We expend a lot of energy trying to change that which is outside our ability and scope to change. We try to change people and we try to change their actions, but this can be a frustrating adventure. We cannot change others, but we can certainly change ourselves. In the end, it requires personal responsibility to change what is wrong in ourselves.

Third, sometimes we need encouragement and help along the way to recognize that God is at work and He is giving us a second chance. We can miss what God is doing in us and through us. Paul reminds us to help restore those who have been caught in a sin (Galatians 6:1). Perhaps you need a Nathan. Perhaps you need a boat load of unbelievers to set the record straight. Perhaps you need a personal encounter with Christ to motivate you to change. However it comes, we must change. Know this as well, while we cannot change others, we can be a resource for encouragement and hope as others navigate the results and the stigma of sin they face.

In all of this, I am reminded of Lamentations 3:21-23 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. His second chances come by way of His mercy which is a response of His faithfulness. Listen to Jeremiah, he calls this to remembrance and it brings him hope. There is hope in God no matter what I do or fail to do. His mercy is always there. It reminds us that no matter what I might have done yesterday, I have a fresh start today, because His mercies are new and His faithfulness is great. He is a God of the second chance. So today, where do you need a second chance? Is it a sin you have committed? Is it a broken relationship? Is it a failure that you have experienced? Is it a mistake? God knows and is already sending you His mercy, if you receive it.

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14

Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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