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The first and primary characteristic of David that we looked at was his dependency on God. All throughout his life, no matter how good or bad, we see David continually returning to a deep dependence on God.
As one continues to take a look at David’s life, one sees that his dependence produces a tremendous humility. David, as a young man is anointed the next King of Israel, yet, we see later in his story that he is still faithfully shepherding the sheep while his older brothers are off at war. Take out “WAIT” David is anointed King and does not demand his throne or demand to be treated as a King. Maybe this type of humility only seems odd in our present day culture of entitlement. After all, how many teenagers have you known that if they were approached and told they were to be King of the United States would go to work at HEB the next day. NO!!! They would, probably like me, sit around, do nothing, and act like they owned the world. Not David, even after defeating Goliath and becoming a national hero when the King tries to kill him, he remains humble. He does not bow up for a fight and demand to be King, which he had already been anointed. No, he lives in caves and refuses to take the king’s life despite multiple opportunities.
Later in David’s story God tells David that he will not allow David to build a temple for him, but instead would allow one of his son’s to build it. God then goes on to tell David that he would bless his household and from David’s line would come a King that would rule forever. David’s response is amazing.
2 Samuel 7:18-22 King David went in, sat before the LORD , and said, “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you should have brought me to this point? 19 And you didn’t stop there, O LORD God! You have also spoken about the future of your servant’s family. Is this your usual way of dealing with men, O LORD God? 20 What more can David say to you? You have given your servant special recognition, O LORD God! 21 For the sake of your promise and according to your purpose you have done this great thing in order to reveal it to your servant. 22 Therefore you are great, O LORD God, for there is none like you! There is no God besides you! What we have heard is true!
God does two things, He tells David no on something David really wanted to do and then blesses his socks off. If I were David I would have probably responded with prideful anger about not getting to build the temple. Maybe you are different than me but I probably would have taken the approach of, “Why not me God? Why is my son good enough to do this but not me? This is a good thing, I am going to do it any way. You just said you were going to bless my household so why can’t I build the temple?” Maybe it is just me, but David’s ability to withhold his prideful anger is impressive to me.
Then there is this unbelievable blessing. If I were David I would probably responded something like, “God is going to bless my household because I did it right. More people should listen to me. That’s awesome God that you are going to bless me like that, I knew I was valuable to your plan. Aren’t you glad to have me on your team? I can do anything I want because God is going to take care of me.” All of which would again be pride to think that God’s blessing was about me getting what I deserve or God needing me.
Not David, he responds with awe and humility. He wonders why God would have favor on him to bless him in such a way. He sees himself as God’s servant, and does not overvalue himself. This amazes me because it is the opposite response of all of our human nature. Think about it, why do we always have to work on being humble, we never have work on being more prideful. David’s experiences with God created a dependency on God which leads to David’s humility.
I would love to, when I receive blessings, to respond with humble, thankful, awe. Likewise, when I receive difficult circumstances in life I would like to humbly respond with dependency and trust as David demonstrates. A person whom has a heart like David’s will be a person that displays humility in their life. You simply cannot be a person after God’s own heart if humility is not a chief characteristic of your life. When our experiences with God, dependency on God, and trust in God produces humility it changes the way we interact with others as well.
David clearly did not always get things right, and failed enormously at times in his role as a King, leader, husband, and father. However, many times in his life we see how his humility led him to be a great leader. He served as a leader in the army, a leader of rebels, and a leader of the nation. Most of his life he served other people, and is still known and remembered today as a great King of Israel. If our experiences with God lead us to dependency and humility, it will show itself in how we serve others.
Service is the best way to evaluate a humble heart. How does that person serve others? Do they do the little things, the lowly things? Are they only willing to serve in ways that brings recognition to themselves or that they value? Do they serve in ways that speak to the needs of others? In a conversation, do they listen or do they simply talk? You see humility is all about how you see the world around you. If you are humble before God, you see God as greater than you and so you trust and follow Him. If you are humble toward others, you value them and their needs above you and yours. Ask the same questions above about yourself? What are your honest answers?
When it all comes back to it, it boils down to, “How do you view God?” Is God the creator of all, the supreme being, the one who controls all, who can do all, and who knows all? If He is then maybe he is worthy of my dependence, my trust, my allegiance, and for me to approach Him humbly. May your experiences with God transform our prideful hearts to hearts led by humility.
Mindy asked me to share my story about spending most of my life not knowing my biological father. I am currently 31 years old and we have three young children in our home, which means all of my memories are a little foggy lately. However, when I really think about it, I only have, at most, a handful of memories of my father. Let me preface these memories by sharing that the last time I ever saw the man was when I was seven years old. So here is a quick recap.
I remember visiting him when he lived in San Antonio, but I only remember laughing and having fun with him while also being scared and asking him if he took his medicine. He struggled with a severe chemical imbalance that eventually led to extreme paranoid schizophrenia.
I remember seeing my mom crying as I could hear his voice screaming on the other end of the line.
I remember seeing him literally fight with my stepfather (more about him soon) and kick in a large window which caused glass to fly all over my baby sister Nicki. Praise God she was miraculously unharmed.
I remember flying on an airplane and the stewardess (that’s what they were called back then) reading to me because I was nervous about flying by myself from San Antonio to Philadelphia.
I remember being in court and having to go into the judges chambers and explain, all by myself, with no leading, why I did not feel safe living with my father.
I remember seeing him at McDonalds in Kerrville, TX for what I did not know would be the last time. Apparently there was much more to the story that I am thankful I cannot remember. Like when I was an infant and my Dad literally kidnapped me from my mom in Philadelphia. I was only returned when he pulled over because he was too drunk and/or high to keep driving and he called 911.
Some of these experience’s help explain why I am the way that I am, both good and bad. For example, I am extremely independent and if left alone to my own devices, I would probably spend all of my time alone. Why? I could guarantee that way no one else could hurt me.
That same independence has led me on the other hand to be a leader much my life, not always to my liking I might add. After all if as a kindergartener you can speak with a judge and help determine where you will live, what can’t you do?
At the same time I have some serious trust issues which would make sense from some of the chaos that happened while I was a child, despite my families attempts to keep me safe.
There are days when I am fearful that I do not have what it takes to love my family how I desire, after all, this is where I came from. Other times I wonder if some of the same chemical issues that haunted my father will work their way into my life. Will the same thing happen to me, will I and my family be destroyed? Will my grasp of reality slowly drift away and rob from me the very ones I love and cherish the most? Will my ability to provide for them physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually begin to deteriorate before my very eyes?
None of our lives are easy, and we all have different baggage that takes part in shaping who we are and will become. Those of you who are children of divorce know that there is plenty of blame and hurt to go around, and normally only a minute portion is actually justified. Such was the case with me. The amazing part of my story is that from as long as I can remember, I was blessed to have another father in my life, my stepdad. In reality he is my father and I am his son, but for the sake of confusion I will refer to him as my stepdad in this setting.
You see the Bible says, “The LORD is near the brokenhearted; he delivers those who are discouraged.” If you are a child of divorce then I know you already know what it is like to be brokenhearted and discouraged. If not, then I am fairly certain your life experience has led you through hurts and pains, just from a different perspective. As I child I did not know this verse, or truth, or really anything about God. All I knew is that I was brokenhearted, scared, and confused. Little did I know that God truly was near, but in a way I would not understand for well over a decade.
You see God put this man in my life. My stepdad, if you know our family then you probably know him by the name we call him, “Pop”. All of my life, Pop, has loved me, even though I am not his flesh and blood, as his flesh and blood. He has taught me what it is to have strong work ethic and good character. He spent more hours than I can possibly remember investing in me, teaching me, coaching me, and spending time with me. Even when he would discipline me, all my memories are of him doing so fairly, although I admit I never once thought it to be fair in the moment. Even some of my most difficult memories, are him protecting me and the rest of our family from the man who biologically had that right. He is and always has been a real man, a man’s man. Not concerned about how he looks on the outside but who he is and what his life would stand for.
Many years later as a young teenager I would learn about another father who had been near to me all my life and desired to deliver me from discouragement. It was not for years after that until I began to understand what it meant to be a follower of this Jesus. Yet, the more I began to know him, the more I realized this to be true, “He is a father to the fatherless and an advocate for widows. God rules from his holy palace.” It was not until I truly began to know God, my father, that I began to appreciate all he had blessed me with in Pop.
For most of my childhood, I had a deep bitterness toward Pop, I blamed him for not knowing my father. As a teenager this began to come out in ugly ways. Time would end up revealing truth which allowed me to stop blaming Pop for things that were never his fault and God would allow me to see how he used Pop as his way of being near to me, the fatherless.
As I began to know Jesus better, and my desire to follow him grew, it was always easy for me to see God as a father figure. It was easy because God gave me a representative on earth in Pop that allowed me to see him more clearly. Pop was and is not perfect, but all of those wonderful attributes of his are Godly attributes that allowed me to view God for who HE truly is. My Father, My Prince of Peace, My Lord, My Messiah, My Savior, My Friend, and My Rock.
Why do I share all of this with you today? Well, if you are old enough to read this, you have most likely experienced the hurts and pains of life that leave us brokenhearted. To be honest, it kinda sucks, this is the reality of the world we live in. The great news is that there is one who is a father to all the fatherless, if you are willing to admit that you need a daddy. Knowing Him might not make your circumstances better, it might not take all your fears away, but knowing Him will allow you to persevere.
Therein lies the next question, why should I persevere? If you cannot guarantee it will get better, what is the point. Well, as I shared earlier, I never know if today will be the day I begin hearing voices, seeing people who are not really there, or begin losing a grasp on reality in some other way. What I do know is the world is full of fatherless children, of children who are brokenhearted, and discouraged. But as long as God gives me breathe and his spirit is leading me that will not be my children. Just as Pop showed me glimpses of God throughout my life, so do I seek to do with my children.
Wait, the challenge does not end there. My Pop has always been known and loved by his children but many others as well. You see he is that guy that people ask to keep coaching kids sports teams for years after his children are grown. He instilled in me another teaching of Jesus, to be leader not by right but by service, a servant leader.
What children has God placed in your life? How can He use you to be a part of healing their broken hearts? Are they in your home? In your neighborhood? They are all around, what will they remember, what will they know from your influence? More brokenness, more disappointment?
My story begins with baggage, hurt, pain, disappointment, confusion, and who knows the same darkness that plagued my father may fall on me some day. However, that is out of my control. I am not a victim of my baggage, I am who I am in part because of my baggage. God has used my baggage in part to reveal to me His grace and mercy, and all I am certain of is that I have today. Today to show the brokenhearted around me a little glimpse of the grace and mercy I have found in Jesus. To show those around me the father who will never leave, the father who will never lose his mind, the father who will never cause you to cry in those silent moments, the father who will never, ever break your heart.
This is one of the blogs that was written in an attempt to cover some of the items we were unable to get to about the life of David during Sunday’s Family Service.
One of the points we looked at is that we, just as David, must depend on God to experience God’s passion in your life. As we look at David’s life, his dependence on God may be his most clear and distinct characteristic. You might know many of the stories from David’s life-like defeating Goliath, being a great warrior, spending years running from the lunatic King he was anointed to replace, and so on. What is remarkable in those stories is that David always has a strong dependency on God.
In maybe the most famous Psalm of them all, Psalm 23 we see David’s dependence on God clearly. David writes,
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He takes me to lush pastures, he leads me to refreshing water. He restores my strength. He leads me down the right paths for the sake of his reputation. Even when I must walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff reassure me. You prepare a feast before me in plain sight of my enemies. You refresh my head with oil; my cup is completely full. Surely your goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all my days, and I will live in the LORD ‘s house for the rest of my life.
All throughout this passage we see David’s dependence on God. It is clear that David recognizes he needs God to make it through this crazy life and world. This David knew what it was like to feel as though he was walking through the darkest valley. At one point in his life he has been anointed the new King of Israel and is a well-loved warrior hero. Yet, the ruling King who was losing his mind makes David an outlaw and tracks him all over the country trying to kill him.
How would you feel? The great prophecy anoints you as the next King and the current king is hunting you down like an animal. Yet, all throughout this process David is faithful to God in the way he lives and leads the men that become outlaws with him. He even has a couple of opportunities to kill the current, crazy king and passes because he does not believe God to have called him to kill the king. Now that is impressive. During this time he knew what it was like to need to be restored, to be hungry, to be in danger, and all the while, he finds all he needs through his dependence on God.
He even depended on God to the point that he was able to be truly honest, and real with God. There are many Psalms that to us in this modern-day seem odd as David seems to yell at God and share his frustration with God in ways in which we are typically uncomfortable.
Here is the thing, what is David’s secret? What leads him to be so honest, so transparent, so real, and dependent on God? Well in Psalm 51:16-17 we see a glimpse.
Certainly you do not want a sacrifice, or else I would offer it; you do not desire a burnt sacrifice. The sacrifices God desires are a humble spirit – O God, a humble and repentant heart you will not reject.
Many years later, David is now King and is confronted by a new prophet after committing probably his biggest blunder ever (sleeps with a married woman, gets her pregnant, and then murders her husband after his deceptive attempts to resolve the problem fail). All of this is going on and here we see David’s heart as he repents and turns back to God.
Although the sacrificial system was in place, David understood what was missed by most. The sacrificial system was not what God wanted, it was simple a symbol that would point to Jesus a system that would display faith. I have probably said it a million times now, why would someone sacrifice one of their most valuable objects to God unless they had faith in that God and responded in obedience (because of faith) to what God asked?
Now before you start writing me emails about how I am wrong, surely there were many who missed the faith aspect and were sacrificing their valuable possessions to try to earn God’s favor. Just as many try to “be good” today and earn God’s favor surely there were Jews who tried to “be good” and earn God’s favor during David’s time. Those who fall into that, then and now, miss the point that they cannot earn God’s favor through works, but that they receive God’s grace when they respond to his grace through faith.
Back to the point. David says that he knows God does not care about him going and offering sacrifices, which David had the resources to easily do. David understood that God desired his heart. God desired David coming to God in humility and with repentance. The amazing thing is nothing has changed.
To come to God with humility we must admit that we are not God and that He is. If we are able to do that we are able to see we have not always followed his ways of doing things in our lives. Thus, we humbly come before God with repentance, or committing to forsake how we have lived apart from God’s and His ways and instead return to Him and live according to His ways.
Here is the best part for us and for David. David says, this type of heart or soul God will not reject. Did you know that you can approach and know God who created the universe if you would simply respond to him with a humble and repentant heart in faith. Even more, you can continue to depend on him each day with a humble heart that is choosing to follow Him and experience a type of passion that like David even when you go through the darkest valleys of life you will not be afraid. Even when going through the darkest of valleys and you feel at the end of your rope you can be restored and refreshed.
Take a chance with David’s secret to being a man after God’s own heart and depend on Jesus. You will never regret it.
On Sunday during our Family Service we continued our Finding Yourself in God’s Story Series. In a shortened service and message we only had time to touch on David from a very general perspective and due to technical difficulties were unable to record it. Here is a recap of Sunday’s Family Service message with the scripture coming from The Jesus Story Book Bible, during this week I will release blogs that delve deeper into each point for those interested.
DAVID WAS A SHEPHERD, but God looked at him and he saw a king. Sure enough, when David grew up, that’s just what he became. And David was a great king. He had a heart like God’s heart—full of love.
Now, that didn’t mean he was perfect, because he did some terrible things—he even murdered a man. No, David made a big mess of his life. But God can take even the biggest mess and make it work in his plan. “I need a new heart, Lord,” David prayed, “because mine is full of sin. Make me clean inside.” God heard David’s prayer. He forgave David and he made David a promise: “I will make you great, David. And one day, a King will be born into your family, and he will heal the whole world.”
Did you know that David was a songwriter, too? In fact his songs were so good, they might have been in the top 40 charts (if they’d been invented then). David’s songs are like prayers. They are called psalms and this one is called “The Song of the Shepherd.” (It’s probably number one on the Psalm Charts.) And it goes like this …
God is my Shepherd And I am his little lamb.
He feeds me He guides me He looks after me. I have everything I need. Inside, my heart is very quiet. As quiet as lying still in soft green grass
In a meadow By a little stream.
Even when I walk through the dark, scary, lonely places
I won’t be afraid Because my Shepherd knows where I am.
He is here with me He keeps me safe
He rescues me He makes me strong And brave.
He is getting wonderful things ready for me Especially for me Everything I ever dreamed of!
He fills my heart so full of happiness I can’t hold it all inside.
Wherever I go I know God’s Never Stopping Never Giving Up Unbreaking Always and Forever Love Will go, too!
God gave David that song to sing to his people, so they could know that he loved them and would always look after them—like a shepherd loves his sheep.
And one day, God was going to do something that would inspire thousands upon thousands of new songs. God was going to show his people once and for all just how much he loved them.
Another Shepherd was coming— a greater Shepherd. He would be called the Good Shepherd. And this Shepherd was going to lead all of God’s lambs back to the place where they had always belonged—close to God’s heart. (Jesus Story Book Bible, The Good Shepherd; Psalm 51, 2 Samuel 7, Psalm 23)
The primary characteristic that we see in David’s life is that through every circumstance he continually depends on God. David made huge mistakes in his life, some worse than any of us will ever make, yet, through it all he always returned to a dependence on God. The only way that we can have a passion like Davids is to depend on God and allow him to build that passion in our lives.
Depend on God and allow him to produce Passion in your life
Thankfully we are fortunate to have a God that looks at us much like a Tootsie Roll lollypop. In fact, I have one for every child here today, so in just a second you can come up and get one. What I mean is that just like the lollypops come with different colors, flavors, and wrappings; each of us are different shapes, sizes, colors, we each have different backgrounds, different gifting, and live with different circumstances.
When you eat any of these lollypops you will find no matter what color it is it comes with that awesome treat on the inside, the tootsie roll. God is not concerned with our pasts, with what we have or have not done, with are failures and successes. He is concerned with our heart, he is concerned with the tootsie roll in the middle. He looks at each of us and desires our hearts dependence on Him. That is his primary concern, and when we depend on him with our hearts, He begins to change us and effect us from the inside out, it starts on the inside. No matter what you have done, no matter what your past, God is interested in your heart, just as he calls David who committed murder and adultery, A Man After God’s Own Heart. Why, because David continually returned to and depended on God and knew God’s primary concern was his heart.
As you continue to depend on God He produces a passion in your life for him from the inside out. That passion that grows for him as you depend on him will produce humility in your life.
Allow your Passion for God to produce humility in your life
You see you cannot look at God and depend on him if you are proud, you have to admit that He is God and you are not. You have to admit that you need him. You have to admit that we are not of most importance, and that produces humility in your life.
Humility produces service in your life
As humility before God grows in your life through your dependence on God and passion for God, that humility will point you to viewing others with humility. God begins to change the way we look at others and instead of thinking about all we need and want, we begin to see what others need and want. Even more so, we begin to serve others instead of ourselves just as David did when we has a shepherd, when we was a warrior, and when he was King.
However, the most important aspect about David is that he points us to Jesus. David started out as a shepherd and then became a shepherd of different sorts when we became Israel’s king. All of this points to one that would come from his lineage that would be called the Good Shepherd.
John 10:11 ESV I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
To Experience God’s Passion in your life you must surrender to the Good Shepherd
Here is the part we cannot miss, to truly experience God’s passion in your life you and I must surrender to the Good Shepherd, The Messiah, Jesus, who did lay down his life for us on the cross. Although He is the King and Creator of all and despite never sinning, he pays the price for our sin on the cross. He wants to lead you to a relationship with the creator and as a shepherd lead you though this life, but we must surrender to him and receive his gift of grace. You see anyone can buy you an amazing present, but it is up to you to receive it as a present from them, if you do not receive it you miss out on the gift, not them after all they already purchased it and had the joy of giving it.
As you go through this week, maybe as you eat a tootsie roll lollypop, remember Jesus cares about your heart and soul most of all. So much so that He laid down his life that you and I might receive the greatest gift of grace ever known. May you surrender to him, depend on him, passionately pursue him, and humble serve him and others this week.
At times in my life and ministry I have been criticized or second guessed about the interesting path God has led me through. You see I am about to turn 31 in a few short weeks and since college I have now served in six cities and in about 11 different ministry positions. I lead Younglife as a volunteer and part-time, been a student pastor a few times, lead college ministry, been a minister of education, a minister of evangelism, served in a media ministry at an enormous church as a volunteer, been on a strategic team for a young adult ministry as a volunteer, been a family pastor, and now a church planter. Pretty crazy right.
There have been a number of times I have been questioned about, “If I made mistakes about taking that job?” and even more times it has just been assumed I did not by others. Over the years there have been numerous times that I have looked back and evaluated if I did make a mistake like that, but each time I can see what God was doing, how he used me coming, and going, and have confidence in following His call. During this most recent season of church planting I have again found a great comfort in the odd path that God has taken me through.
I have found, and been guilty myself, that most people sit back and believe themselves to be experts on everyone else’s role and position. This happens at every company as one department complains about how another department should do things, how their boss should do things. It happens in families as spouses complain about how the other spouse should do this or that, children complain about parents, parents complain about children, it just goes on and on. It is equally as true in the church as ministries complain about how another ministry is doing things and the supposed effects it is having on their ministry. Everyone complains at some point about the pastor and the music. It is so true, isn’t it?
Here is what I have realized though, we mostly complain about the things we really have no true knowledge about and experience in. How many people in the marketing department know what it is like to work on the supply or retail side of the company? How many husbands know what it is like to be a mother or children a parent? It is the same in the church, how many people in the church have any clue what it is like to be a pastor or worship leader, or fill in the blank? To be honest, most church staff members do not even know what it is like to be in the shoes of their coworkers. Most people sit around, make assumptions, based from their observations from their perspectives or from some book written by someone void of their context. Let me just say, I a have been guilty too many times and speak from my own experience. How often do people take the time to actually ask the person they are making an assumption about some questions like: What is like to do your job/lead this ministry? What are you biggest challenges? What are the things you wish you did not have to do? What are the things you love to do?
During this season I have learned this even more first hand and I have learned much about humility and confidence (not arrogance). Proverbs 15:33 says, “The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” What might happen if we began seeing others more highly then we see ourselves? Maybe, we would quit making our assumptions and start having some experiences. So you think something might be wrong. Go ask, go build a relationship, and go serve.
I have come to a point, even while I am uncertain about what the future might hold for us as we are 2 weeks into the launch of a new church plant, to be thankful for the odd experiences that God has given me. It has humbled me to not be so arrogant to think I know all the answers to everyone else’s problems in contexts I have never myself been. It has also given me the opportunities to have experiences that most ministers and even pastors never have. Others then worship ministry I have literally served in leadership in every area of the church. I have served in a parachurch ministry, have had to fundraise, and I have had the unique experience of being a volunteer after being a staff member. It has taken me from being a punk, sitting in my office reading books and making assumptions about everything I have never experienced to be in mix of it all. It has given me humility to not assume I know what is going on even in areas I have experienced but in contexts I have never been in. I do not know the first thing about the challenges of church planting in Dallas, or the east coast, or west coast. I do not know the first thing about a youth pastor, family pastor, or children’s ministers challenges in a place I have never served. What I have learned is to be humble enough to ask questions, to care enough to want to help instead of sitting back and assuming I know what is going on. While at the same time having a confidence that I have experienced many general situations and God might have me in this relationship in this place to share my experience for another’s benefit.
Why do I share all of this? To challenge you to get out of your bubble and have some experiences. To quit making assumptions about things you have never experienced and instead challenge you to go ask, build a relationship, and serve. It is easy to sit on the sideline a be a parent yelling at the refs and coaches. It is hard and takes courage to get out of your seat and help coach, help ref, help serve. I don’t know all the answers and neither do you, ask God to put you in some experiences that allow you to learn, grow, and serve.
Be careful though, it just might not end up the way “it’s suppose to look”, you just might find your story looking confusing and crazy like ours. You might not have a safe and secure life, but you might find yourself with less regrets at the end of the day. You might find yourself spending less time talking about everyone else, and instead you might be out there with everyone else. You might find out what the Bible means when it says to be strong and courageous even when you are scared and confused. You might find out what it is like to continually have God prove Himself to you and have a peace that passes all understanding. Get outside the box, get in the game, go have a little experience.