If It Can Happen to David

womanIn reading in the book of Samuel about the life of King David, and his encounter with Bathsheba I had to stop and ponder how such a thing might happen. I’m thinking, how does one so close to God end up in a situation like that.

So many of the Psalms express David’s deep passion and commitment toward God. David exudes such a love for Him. He talks about how he meditates on God’s Laws and how awesome and beautiful they are. Even God calls David a man after His own heart. So, what happened?

Well, I can’t say for sure, but we can certainly speculate about what might have happened. There’s no arguing that David loved God greatly, and was a man of deep passion. David was a warrior, a king, a poet, and a man’s man.

At the time this happened Israel was at war, but it seems David was no longer going out to the battles as he once did. He was back in his palace where everything seemed to be going rather smoothly. He had good generals and many mighty men taking care of things on the front lines which took a lot of the burden off of him. Life was pretty good, and David didn’t really have a lot to worry about at the time.

So let me ask you, what happens to us when our life goes on autopilot. What begins to happen when everything is going along smoothly? Do we find ourselves getting comfortable and backsliding just a little? Do we start letting out guard down a bit? Do we start following our own compass instead of our true compass, Jesus Christ?

It seems David let his guard down, and lost his way for a while. He became comfortable and relaxed. Let’s let the scriptures tell us what happened:

2 Samuel 11:1-3
11 It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. 2 Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.

If King David would have taken a page from Joseph, one of the sons of Israel, he would have turned around, left, and let it go at that. But remember, David was a man of great passion and he had let his guard down. Let’s continue with the story:

2 Samuel 11:4-10
3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house.

At this point not only did David let his guard down, but he gave in to lust and committed adultery with another man’s wife. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he is hit right between the eyes with the results of his sin.

2 Samuel 11:5 And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.”

Wow, what are you going to do with that? You are the King of Israel, and a man that all the people adored and held in high esteem. So, what does David do? Does he repent in sack cloth and ashes for this sin? No, he tries to cover it up.

David sends for Uriah and tries to trick him into going into his wife to cover up what he had done, but Uriah is too loyal to his fellow soldiers and refuses to go into his wife while they are at battle.

At this point what’s David to do? He panics and decides to cover up his sin from the people by sending Uriah to the front lines to get killed.

2 Samuel 11:14-17
14 In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.” 16 So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also.

So, not only do we have adultery here, but now we have a man killed to try and hide an egregious sin. David had put down his guard and forgot about his relationship with God. Life had been going good for him and he just started relying on his own importance instead of his deep need for relationship with God. So how does he finally realize the error of his way? It’s after hearing a story from Nathan the Profit that greatly angered him.

2 Samuel 12:1-13
12 Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. 3 But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. 4 And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

5 So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! 6 And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.”

7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! 9 Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. 10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’”

13 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.

Although David repented deeply, and God continued to love David and even called him a man after God’s own heart, David never saw peace again in Israel. Many of the Psalms were written from David’s anguish due to enemies pursuing him, even one of his own children.

So, what’s my point? Well, my point is we need to be vigilant not to back slide and lose our way. Even when times are good, maybe especially then, we need to keep ourselves immersed in the word of God. We need to keep our guards up. We need to be doing things to bless the life of others. It’s not just about going to church and reading your bible either. We need to be lights in this increasingly dark world. We need to be making a difference where ever we find ourselves.

If David, a man after God’s own heart can commit such a sin, are we comfortable putting our guard down?

 

If you’d like to see a beautiful version of L. Cohen’s Hallelujah check this out: HALLELUJAH

 

———————————————————————————————————————————————-
“If you like what you’ve read, please feel free to share it with a friend; and recommend yourspiritmindandbody.com to them”.

The Day of Atonement

A photo of a nail with blood.

Photo by Koshyk

This is a re-post from 2012.

Leviticus 23:26-32 26 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. 29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.”

Many people look at the above scripture and say that is for the Jewish people, and another group believes the Old Testament was done away with. What do you think?

If you are of either of those beliefs, I would ask you to prayerfully read the following scriptures and reconsider your stance.

Galatians 3:5-9 & 26-29 5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[c] 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”[d] 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

It is not my place to judge, condemn, or argue spiritual issues and doctrines with anyone. However, I do think there are some amazing lessons, and deep spiritual insights that can be gained by the celebration and keeping of the Old Testament Holy Days. If you see any merit in what I share, that’s great, if you think I’m brain broke, that’s okay too. I just ask you to consider.

Until Jesus Christ laid down His life as a sacrifice for mankind to make Atonement for our sins, we were cut off from God. Every year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would have to go through a very elaborate and bloody ritual which was a representation of our true High Priest, and His sacrifice to come. Let’s take a look at what was done every year until Christ’s sacrifice.

Leviticus 16:2-22 2 and the Lord said to Moses: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.

3 “Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering. 4 He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on. 5 And he shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering.

6 “Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. 7 He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 8 Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9 And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. 10 But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.

11 “And Aaron shall bring the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house, and shall kill the bull as the sin offering which is for himself. 12 Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil. 13 And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the Testimony, lest he die. 14 He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.

15 “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. 16 So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 There shall be no man in the tabernacle of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself, for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel. 18 And he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord, and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. 19 Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, cleanse it, and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

20 “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. 21 Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. 22 The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.

Although Jesus was not sacrificed on the Day of Atonement, this day represents and commemorates Christ’s sacrifice which reconciles us to God through His atoning or covering of our sins.

Romans 5:6-11 6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

The Day of Atonement is a fast day in which no food or water is consumed from sundown to sundown. It is a time of repentance, and to reflect on the great sacrifice of our High Priest, Jesus Christ. When you go 24 hours without food or drink you realize just how temporary and weak our bodies are. It is a time of solemn reflection on our short comings and areas we need to improve on. But most of all, it is a time to be humbly grateful for Christ’s sacrifice.

I have been keeping the Day of Atonement for around 30 years now, and began its observance this evening at sunset. Every year I gain a deeper understanding of the significance of this day, and I become more grateful and dependent on our Savior because of it.

There are those who would argue the keeping of these days is not necessary anymore. As I said, it is not my place to judge or debate, only to share. I would not consider this a salvation issue, but a learning and relationship deepening opportunity. I believe if keep this day, you will be spiritually impacted by it.

If you should decide to try keeping the Day of Atonement, let me say this. If you have any health issues, talk to your doctor before doing so. You should take any medications that you’re on with a little water. This day is not an exercise in the letter of the law, but is a day of rich symbolism and meaning that can draw you closer to God.

Again, considering the scriptures in Galatians we read above let me leave you with the following scripture.

Leviticus 16:29-31 29 “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. 30 For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. 31 It is a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever.

Show Some Kindness

be right or be kindDoes the Spirit of Kindness live in you? It should if you’re a Christian. After all, Kindness is one of the Fruits of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, KINDNESS, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

From Wikipedia, Kindness is described as a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions.

From Merriam Webster, Kindness is described as: the quality or state of being kind.

Some Synonyms of Kindness are: benevolence, courtesy, grace, indulgence, favor and mercy.

So, looking at these definitions and synonyms, are you a kind person? Now, I’m not asking you if you’re kind to certain people, but are you kind in your overall nature?

For the sake of this discussion, let’s substitute the word kindness with love.

Luke 6:32-34
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.

Jesus condemned the behavior of loving only those who love us. Would He feel any different about the issue of kindness toward others?

Do you see where I’m going with this? Even those who aren’t Christ’s do good to their own. They are kind to those who are kind to them. They give and lend to those who will give or lend to them.

What about you and me? Are we only kind to those who are kind to us? Do we only give to those who give to us? Are we only friendly and kind to those who are friendly and kind to us, or who believe as we believe?

I’ve heard people who call Christ their Lord speak disparaging things about those who are not like them. To hear some of them speak if you smoke, drink, have different doctrinal believes, or don’t read the right Bible, you have no place with Christ. Not only is it sad that they believe that way, but scary when you consider that God is going to judge us with the same judgment we use on others. And, where is the Kindness?

If you are a true disciple of Christ’s then you are one of the elect and called upon to “Put On” Kindness as in the scripture says below.

Colossians 3:12
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, KINDNESS, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

Calling ourselves Christian no more makes us Christians than calling ourselves a Cadillac makes us a car. It’s not the things we say, but the way we live our lives. When we are being kind or showing kindness to others, we are showing Christ in us and living according to our calling.

Also, not only does being kind to others bless them, but it blesses us as well. When we are kind, we feel better about ourselves, which makes us feel better about life. When we feel better about life we have more of ourselves to give. When we have more of ourselves to give, God has more of us to work with.

There is a natural law that God has put into place all around us. It is the law of sewing and reaping. In life whether we sew good or evil, whether we sew love or hate, or whether we sew Kindness or hostility; we will reap what we have sewn.

In the New King James version of the Bible, the word Kindness is used 44 times; and the word Kind is used 188. I would say Kindness is very important to God, and if very important to God, it should be very important to us.

Let me leave you with a very good quote by Henry James, “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”

So, what do you say we make an extra effort to show some Kindness to others?

———————————————————————————————————————————————-
“If you like what you’ve read, please feel free to share it with a friend; and recommend yourspiritmindandbody.com to them”.

Oppressed by the Wicked

prisonerPsalm 12 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

1 Help, Lord, for no faithful one remains;
the loyal have disappeared from the human race.
2 They lie to one another;
they speak with flattering lips and deceptive hearts.
3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips
and the tongue that speaks boastfully.
4 They say, “Through our tongues we have power;
our lips are our own—who can be our master?”
5 “Because of the oppression of the afflicted
and the groaning of the poor,
I will now rise up,” says the Lord.
“I will put the one who longs for it in a safe place.”
6 The words of the Lord are pure words,
like silver refined in an earthen furnace,
purified seven times.
7 You, Lord, will guard us;
You will protect us from this generation forever.
8 The wicked wander everywhere,
and what is worthless is exalted by the human race.

Which of you reading this feels safe anymore? Which of you feels this chapter doesn’t speak to us? Who feels like everything is going just fine, with everything chugging along as it always has?

I so look forward to the fulfillment of versus 5 – 7, but right now see the fulfillment of the rest of this chapter. Although there are pockets of individuals that are faithful to the Lord, they are dwindling;. and many in this nation who call themselves Christian are at best a version of Christian lite.

Didn’t Isaiah talk of such a time as ours.

Isaiah 1:4-6 (New King James Version)
4 Alas, sinful nation,
A people laden with iniquity,
A brood of evildoers,
Children who are corrupters!
They have forsaken the Lord,
They have provoked to anger
The Holy One of Israel,
They have turned away backward.
5 Why should you be stricken again?
You will revolt more and more.
The whole head is sick,
And the whole heart faints.
6 From the sole of the foot even to the head,
There is no soundness in it,
But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores;
They have not been closed or bound up,
Or soothed with ointment.

The whole head is sick! Look at our morally bankrupt leaders in Washington flushing this country down the drain. And the whole heart is faint! Look at many of our current Christian leaders who are more concerned about preaching feel good messages that gets lots of donations, instead of crying out for revival, repentance and a return to Christ.

We have an organization that this Country helped fund and train, ISIS, that is tearing through the Middle East beheading men, women and children. There are even pictures of ISIS children cutting off people’s heads. Where is the outrage in our media or our Government. There is nothing but posturing and speaking out minimally only when enough pressure is brought to bear.

A child is not allowed to bow his or her head in many schools for a moment of silent prayer; yet we have schools that have children take on Muslim names and celebrate Ramadan. And just the other day a solider, stopping in his daughter’s school in Detroit Michigan, was not allowed in by security because his uniform might offend someone. REALLY?

The whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint. We have become a country that is covered in wounds, bruises and putrefying soars. We are obsessed with what we look like on the outside when our insides have become rotten. Unless this Country repents quickly we will run out of time.

I do believe God will look out for His elect. Those men and women who are in this world but not of it. I really do take great hope in Psalms 12:5-7, but I fear right now we are in a place where, “The wicked wander everywhere, and what is worthless is exalted by the human race.”

———————————————————————————————————————————————-
“If you like what you’ve read, please feel free to share it with a friend; and recommend yourspiritmindandbody.com to them”.

Unspotted From the World

 

dry barren land

Photo by taigasylvan

James 1:27

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Ok, sounds good, but what exactly does it mean to keep oneself unspotted from the world, and how would one do that?

Considering the above scripture, it seems to have something to do with remaining or becoming pure and undefiled.

Well, what does it mean to be pure and undefiled?

Basically it means the opposite of being tainted and defiled, or dirty. It means living in this world without being tainted or dirtied by it. It means looking and striving for the home that’s beyond this world and life. It means walking a different path than most of the inhabitants of this earth.

If it were only that easy, right?

I think the biggest two culprits that put spots on us is the breaking of the 1st and 10th Commandments. If you believe the 10 Commandments no longer apply, we can get into that another time, but for now just humor me. :)

The 1st Commandment states, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, you shall have no other gods before Me”. And the 10th Commandment states, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” Pretty simple and strait forward, right?

What do you say we look at each of these separately, and see if we might not be in need of a can of spot remover in our lives?

Our first reaction is probably to say, “I don’t have any other gods before the true God. I would never think of such a thing”. Of course we wouldn’t! Not intentionally anyway.

So, let’s ask ourselves, how much time do we spend each day considering the things of God? How many times a day do we ask God for His counsel or guidance? How many times a day do we ask ourselves, “How would God want me to deal with this situation?” How often do we ask God how we might help or serve another? Do we get as excited thinking about God as we do our favorite sports figures or actors? Do we look forward to our time with God with the same anticipation as we have for watching our favorite TV shows?

I wish I saw people exert half the zeal for God as many do when they talk about Lebron James and other big sports figures.

We’re all guilty of it. We are all flawed imperfect people who would be but filthy rags if not for Christ. Our God is an awesome God though, who understands our back sliding, and getting caught up in the world. That’s why He sends us friendly reminders like the one you’re reading right now. The one I felt I needed to write as much as I need to read. Our God is a jealous God, and will not play second string to Lebron James or any other person or thing in this world. And there will come a time when He will grow tired of falling below the number one place in our lives.

Another big way we become spotted by this world is by the breaking of the 10th Commandment. You know the one about coveting. We all lose focus from time to time, but some people are so driven by their wants and desires that they really have no room for God.

Now I want to be clear, there is nothing wrong with desiring some nice things or striving to better our lives. The problem comes when we become obsessed or driven by those things. God wants us to be happy, and enjoy the blessings that can come from hard work and creativity. But He doesn’t want our lives to be about possessions, and how much stuff we can accumulate. You see, the more you possess, the more those things possess your time and thoughts.

I was talking with a really smart lady about possessions a few weeks ago, and she said something that made a lot of sense to me. She said that she was actually happier overall when she had less. Many people might find that statement rather odd, but I understood it completely. Her reasoning was she had less to worry about, and more time to enjoy her family and the simple things in life. Now she’s in a position of great responsibility that consumes much of her time. She has much more, but less time to enjoy it with the one’s she loves.

We live in a society and culture that worships things. We are bombarded with messages that we deserve and need this, that and the other thing. The family unit is dying in this country and we have become more and more selfish and self-focused as a culture. When the focus becomes all about us and the stuff we desire, there’s little time to focus on God.

Do you want that pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father? Do you want to keep yourself unspotted from the world? Well, if you do, I have just the prescription for you.

Rx: Put God 1st in your life. Spend more time thinking about others. Be more grateful for what you already have, and remember that its people and not things that are truly important.