David: A King with a Heart for God - Part 4
Do you ever contemplate the scriptures, study the Greek and Hebrew words for the specific purpose of discovering what exactly God means by what He has written? The other alternative is to trust other men for the meaning behind the words. Members trust their pastors all the time. Pastor's trust commentaries and seminary professors. Seminary professors are much the same.
My dear readers, I have just generalized across many denominations and different cultural groups to arrive at a very prejudiced conclusion. Nevertheless, my findings are not based upon a critical spirit but one undeniable reality - division. The current state of the Church among dozens of Christian sects results from differing opinions about the same Biblical text.
If God is not confused, and His Word always means the one thing He intends it to say, how can there be so many interpretations? There can be only one explanation; men often rely upon themselves and their leaders more than they trust in God. Believe it or not, these things are not written to make other people look bad, but merely to see ourselves as for what we are.
What did Paul mean when he penned the words, "An overseer, then, must be above reproach?" (1 Timothy 3:2). The word reproach in Greek means without blame in light of the whole picture. Here the person (accuser) trying to seize someone's character by unjustified censure is shown to be groundless, i.e., when the matter is understood in its full context.
Big question! Do pastors and elders of churches sin? How would the average church member feel about their leader if they believed him to be qualified but imperfect? It is one thing to say as a general statement, all people sin, and then recognize a person's specific sins. There is no such thing as a perfect saint on this side of heaven. Can members live in such a reality? More importantly, does the Church, in general, idolize its leadership?
The following historical accounts are true to life concerning the people God chose to use in Israel, such as King David.
A Quick Temper
“Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand. “Nevertheless, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light as much as one male.” (1 Samuel 25:32-34) Notice that apart from the grace of God that sent Abigail, David would have shed much innocent blood and would have been guilty of taking matters into his own hands, which he did not do in the case of Saul.
"David had also taken Ahinoam of Jezreel, and they both became his wives" (Vs. 43). We can make all the excuses we want, but David did not act appropriately regarding multiple women, as did Job. Job made it a goal not to look on other women inappropriately, let alone marry them. Job lived before David and the law, meaning David had more light by which to be more responsible. There is far more of God's grace in the Bible than we realize and even more in our own lives.
Revenge Forbidden and Allowed
"David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, “As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from all distress, when one told me, saying, ‘Behold, Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him in Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news. “How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous man in his own house on his bed, shall I not now require his blood from your hand and destroy you from the earth?” Then David commanded the young men, and they killed them and cut off their hands and feet and hung them up beside the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth and buried it in the grave of Abner in Hebron" (2 Samuel 4:9-12).
David understood justice and the need to give the Lord's anointed proper respect. However, when his son took the life of his half-brother, David turned the other way. God gives grace to whom He will, and He is in the right for doing so. On our part, do we see grace for what it is, or do we justify men we choose to idolize?
Churches must apply an elder's qualifications as recorded in Timothy and Titus to the men chosen to shepherd. However, it is vitally important in the Church to understand that sin goes much deeper than the requirements recorded. The person growing in grace and maturing as a son of God becomes increasingly aware of the evil plaguing him from within.
The Man who spends much time in prayer will not allow himself to be exalted as if he were not a sinner. Consider the awareness of sin from one such man.
"Bend my hands and cut them off, for I have often struck thee with a wayward will when these fingers should embrace thee by faith.
I am not yet weaned from all created glory, honor, wisdom, and esteem others, for I have a secret motive to eye my name in all I do.
Let me not only speak the word sin but see the thing itself.
Give me to view a discovered sinfulness, to know that though my sins are crucified they are never wholly mortified.
Hatred, malice, ill-will, vain-glory that hungers for and hunts after man's approval and applause, all are crucified, forgiven, but they rise again in my sinful heart.
O my crucified but never wholly mortified sinfulness!
O my life-long damage and daily shame!
O my indwelling and besetting sins!
O the tormenting slavery of a sinful heart!
Destroy, O God, the dark guest within whose hidden presence makes my life a hell.
Yet You have not left me here without grace; The cross still stands and meets my needs in the deepest straits of the soul.
I thank You that my remembrance of it is like David's sight of Goliath's sword which preached forth Your deliverance.
The memory of my great sins, my many temptations, my falls, bring afresh into my mind the remembrance of Your great help, of Your support from heaven, of the great grace that saved such a wretch as I am.
There is no treasure so wonderful as the continuous experience of Your grace toward me which alone can subdue the risings of sin within:
Give me more of it.
From The Valley of Vision