Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Psalms 78:70 – 72
“Integrity of heart”

I. When the situation needed a man, David stepped up.

A. Contrast with Saul

1. When Saul was anointed King, he questioned.

“Saul answered, "But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?” [1 Samuel 9:21]

2. When Saul was proclaimed King, he hid.

“When Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. [21] Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri's clan was chosen. Finally Saul son of Kish was chosen. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. [22] So they inquired further of the LORD, "Has the man come here yet?" And the LORD said, "Yes, he has hidden himself among the baggage.” [1 Samuel 10:20 – 22]

3. When David was anointed King, people questioned.

“But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” [1 Samuel 16:7]

B. Facing giants: (1 Samuel 17)

1. Goliath was a situation that seemed unbeatable.

“A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. [5] He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; [6] on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. [7] His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him. . . . [24] When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear.” [1 Samuel 17:4 - 7, 24]

2. David took on the unbeatable foe.

“David asked the men standing near him, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” [1 Samuel 17:26]

“David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” [1 Samuel 17:32]

a. But first he had to get through his family, who did not believe David could do it.

“When Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.” [1 Samuel 17:28]

b. Then David had to get past a skeptical authority figure.

“Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.” [1 Samuel 17:33]


C. The secret to David’s courage (and eventual success)?

“But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, [35] I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. [36] Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. [37] The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you.” [1 Samuel 17:34 – 37]

1. David had a history of trusting God in difficult situations.

a. This history proved God’s faithfulness and work in David’s life.

b. Men are not born, they are made in difficult times.

2. David saw no difference between a lion, a bear, and an uncircumcised Philistine because he saw no difference in God.

a. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it is the size of the fight in the dog.”

b. “It’s not the size of the problem or the man facing the problem, it is the size of God in the man.”

II. When a mistake was made or a wrong done, David took responsibility.

A. Contrast with Saul.

1. The Amalikite fiasco brought King Saul down.

“Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. [8] He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. [9] But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs--everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.” [1 Samuel 15:7 – 9]

a. He lied to deflect responsibility.

“Saul answered, "The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the LORD your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.” [1 Samuel 15:15]

b. He spiritualized his sin.

“Why did you not obey the LORD? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD?" "But I did obey the LORD," Saul said. "I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. [21] The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.” [1 Samuel 15:19 – 21]

c. His real problem: was about how he looked to others.

“Saul replied, "I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD your God.” [1 Samuel 15:30]

B. The Bathsheba – Uriah catastrophe in David’s life.

1. It started when David was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. [2] One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, [3] and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" [4] Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. [5] The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, "I am pregnant.” [2 Samuel 11:1 – 5]

a. Almost always, when a man gets in trouble he is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

b. Almost always, when a man gets in trouble (makes the decision to get into trouble) he is alone.

2. He complicated it by trying to cover it up.

“In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. [15] In it he wrote, "Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.” [2 Samuel 11:14]

a. Think about how silly this was. The people at the palace knew about David’s adultery. Joab knew about David’s murder.

b. The brain shuts down when we try to cover our mistakes and sins.

C. David did take responsibility.

“Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD.” [2 Samuel 12:13a]

1. David understood the weight of unconfessed sin.

When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, "I will confess
my transgressions to the LORD"--
and you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
Selah [Psalms 32:2 – 5]

a. This feeling is called “conviction.” It is the terrible time between the realization of the sin and repentance.

b. David had the struggle with conviction. His willfulness would not easily admit to guilt.

2. David understood the direction of sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge. [Psalms 51:4 – 4]

a. All sin is ultimately directed at God. It is either rebellion against the known will/law of God or it is stubborn/arrogant refusal to obey.

b. Repentance admits that God is right and justified in His judgement of you.

3. David understood only God could relieve him of his sin.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me. . . .[Psalm 51:10]

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise. [Psalms 51:16 – 17]

a. Only God can give a pure heart and a steadfast spirit.

b. It is a broken and contrite heart that God looks for, not ritual. [Ritual implies we can save ourselves.]

III. The key to David’s “integrity of heart” came from obedience.

“After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: `I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” [Acts 13:22]

A. Integrity of heart = skillful hands

1. It is a parallel idea.

a. We live in a world where that emphasizes “skill” often at the expense of integrity because we value results.

b. The mistake is that we think we create the results with our skill. (Or not have results because of our lack of skill.)

c. The other mistake is that we think we do not get results because of our lack of integrity. (Or get results because of our integrity.)

2. The parallelism means integrity of heart is skillful hands.

a. Our problem is in our judgement of results.

b. Lost in all this is the will of God (what God wants to achieve).

B. When God spoke, David obeyed.

1. Every time David got in trouble, he was acting on his own idea.

a. So why then are we addicted to our own ideas?

b. Why are we so busy we cannot hear the still small voice of God?

2. Every time David was honored, he was acting on a “God-idea.”

a. When David beat Goliath, people said, “what a man!”

b. When David was crowned king of Judah and then Israel, people said, “what a man!”

c. When David brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, people said, “what a man!”

d. When David obeyed God, God said, “what a man!”

In today’s world we see a lot of boys who have not grown up. They have no real identity other than a job and who they are living with or married to... They are trained to sit down and shut up on cue. Their woman are frustrated and their children are confused and lonely.

We also see monsters. They are using and abusing women for their own gratification. They are sacrificing their families on the altar of success and stuff. They know no other life other than selfishness and brutality.
The challenge for men today is follow hard after God. Take the risks necessary to follow and obey God. It will require effort, courage, and probably a lot of blood, sweat and tears. John Wesley once said that he was looking for 200 men, who hated nothing but sin and feared noone but God... and he would turn the world upside down with them. Today, God is looking for one of those men... you.

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