Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Month: May 2018 (Page 1 of 6)

Nuggets Of Wisdom – Don’t Miss These Life Lessons

June 1 – Today’s Readings – 2Samuel 22-24 and Proverbs 1

Get ready for the book of Proverbs – have your high-lighter or journaling notebook beside you – Every time you see a “nugget” in this precious book, take note of it. There is enough “ammo” here to make you into a righteous, successful, rich and wise person (with great marriage and family relationships to boot)!

On to King David, who once again is anointed to speak wonderful Words from the Lord:

“I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” – Now this is a great principle for worship! If your worship “offerings” are a lazy affair – perhaps a spectator sport – then you are offering Him something that costs you nothing. Think of our offerings of worship for a moment. Since when is Church supposed to be free entertainment or a weird style of street busking where we drop something in an open guitar case only if we are impressed with “the performance”. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)

“You stoop down to make me great.” – What a revelation of Jesus Christ! – The One who quite literally stooped down to make US great. Just the thought that God wants YOU to be great is enough to turn your life on its ear! So – Be Great! Matthew 20: 25-27 reads, “Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.”

“With Your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” – Here again is God’s magnificent perspective. It is found throughout Scripture yet it rarely becomes revelation in God’s children. It should be the norm however in those who live a Spirit-filled life. God delights to see you advance against a troop or start to scale a wall – then HE gets involved. Remember Jonathan and his armor bearer? This is literally what they did – scaled a cliff face and gained the victory, but we too scale all kinds of walls in life – things that take effort, courage, faith and cooperation with brothers.

Philippians 4:13 reads, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Questions:

1. Give another Biblical account of an offering that cost something.
Give an example of when you felt God was stooping down to make you great.
2. Tell of an instance where you stepped out to “scale a wall” and God gave you the strength to do it.

Both Trajic And Victorious

May 31 – Today’s Readings – 2Samuel 19-21

These chapters are both tragic and victorious for David. He is left with the terrible aftermath that inevitably follows infighting amongst God’s people.First there is deep grief at the precious loss of life (including David’s son) – then the difficult but necessary task of praising and encouraging his men because of the obvious victory they have won for him. David is also faced with political turmoil because he is a very vulnerable leader at this point. There is some confusion and discord amongst the people which subsequently leads to a new “troublemaker” leader rising up to draw the men of Israel away. Worse yet – David has two fiercely loyal, but not like-minded leaders under him who are over his army. Joab and his brother Abishai are extremely aggressive fighting men who protect the king from giants and generals alike. They never do share his tender heart however and even though David is a great fighting man, he is even more-so a lover and a conciliator. Because these men do not share the “same heart” as David they never represent him properly in front of the people. When they killed his son Absalom, David had had enough and tried to get rid of them but this effort was not workable and he was “stuck with” these people who were his most loyal protectors – yet without the ability to be anything but warriors.

This dilemma is also true for various aspects of modern church life. Some of the people we most desperately need to fight the Lord’s battles may also be those we have the least in common with. We may share the same purposes when it comes to the “big picture” but not when it comes to how we wish to deal with people. Some who possess great personality strengths with problem solving, determination or detail are also the weakest link when it comes to gifts and abilities of showing compassion, tenderness and other much-needed people skills.

Forgive my long windedness, but in Chapter 21 we find a fascinating Biblical conundrum – how God can withhold blessing from His people because of past sins committed by another generation of people? Here David’s kingdom is suffering because his predecessor, King Saul had committed a crime against a group of people. The only way to deal with this issue was to make restitution but neither apology nor prayer seemed to suffice so David went to this group of Gibeonites who had been mistreated and asked them how to make amends. When they suggested a very harsh solution to the affair, David complied – and – because he made amends, blessing was restored to Israel. I realize that in some Christian circles this principle of “dealing with ancestor’s sins” has been taken to an extreme but it is good to note that in certain circumstances there is Biblical precedent for this kind of action amongst God’s people. Maybe there would be more blessing in the Churches of Edmonton if more amends were made between groups of squabblers for the past sins of the Churches or individuals.

Questions:

1. Give other Biblical examples of characters that had tremendous spiritual gifting in one area of their lives but were obviously lacking in others.
2. Give another example of “restitution” bringing peace to the people of God.

Choosing Leaders

May 30 – Today’s Readings – 2Samuel 16-18 and Psalms 150

2 Samuel 15:1,6&14 reads, “In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him – Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel. – Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, ‘Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin upon us and put the city to the sword.”

If you ever have to make a choice between 2 leaders vying for the same “kingdom” what will you do? CHOOSE CAREFULLY. First of all – which of the two follows Biblical principles and lives out Godly convictions? Which one has the humble attitude? Who has the repentant attitude? Who is the one promoting himself? Who is the one making choices that most closely resemble the heart of Jesus? Which one best acknowledges that it is God who must be honored (and not man)? Who is the one who is working excessively hard to win the approval of man? Which one is “providing himself with a chariot and horses and fifty men to run before him”? One may have a far superior public or outward appearance than the other. One might even be the latest “up and coming thing”. One probably seems to have the “momentum” over the other. There may be people cursing one leader or the other. Strong allies may have joined up with the “other guy”.

DON’T BE DECEIVED! CHOOSE CAREFULLY! Your spiritual future and that of your family may be at stake. The decision you make can lead to spiritual confusion or spiritual peace. God is rarely neutral in cases like these. He has established Biblical principles for us to take heed to. “Thy Kingdom come”, Lord Jesus – “Thy will be done”.

Here’s the kicker. You will probably not have to live long before you are faced with this kind of situation either in church – on the job – or in another situation where there is a leadership conflict involved. Remember though – there is no such thing as perfection in leadership!

Questions:

1. Give another account in Scripture, where 2 individuals were vying for the same position but one of the two was “the right” choice.
2. Can you give an account from your life (without using names) where there was some kind of power struggle going on and you had to make a choice?

The “Spin-Off”

May 29 – Today’s Readings – 2Samuel 13-15 and Psalms 149

Back in Chapter 11 David had a major moral failure and sinned. Nathan the prophet confronted him in Chapter 12 and said, “Out of your household I am going to bring calamity upon you”. Chapters 13-15 certainly reflect a series of “calamities” for David, his family and his kingdom because it seems everything fell apart morally within his family.

– There was unbridled lust when “Amnon became frustrated to the point of illness on account of his sister Tamar” (2 Samuel 13:2)

– There was deceitfulness – “so Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill” (2 Samuel 13:6)

– There was incest – “Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David” (2 Samuel 13:1)

– There was rape – “since he was stronger than she (Tamar), he raped her” (2 Samuel 13:14)

– There was hatred – “then Amnon hated her with intense hatred” (2 Samuel 13:15)

– There was plotting, 1st degree murder & revenge – “my lord should not think that they killed all the princes; only Amnon is dead. This has been Absalom’s expressed intention ever since the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar” (2 Samuel 13:32)

– There was grief, depression and serious breakdowns in communication – “the king said, ‘He must go to his own house; he must not see my face” (2 Samuel 14:24)

– There was conspiracy – “so the conspiracy gained strength” (2 Samuel 15:12)

– There was rebellion – “he stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (2 Samuel 15:6)

– There was great fear – “Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom” (2 Samuel 15:14)

All these troubles came from WITHIN David’s family. How is it that one pattern of sin can lead to such a legacy of disgrace and conflict? I’m not sure I know the answer, but the thought of it certainly makes me want to live under the shadow of the Almighty so that my children and grandchildren can have a good foundation and a righteous legacy to build on.

“But pastor, you don’t know all the mistakes I’ve made in the past – does this mean that my family is doomed?” Absolutely not! Though we can’t do anything about the past except pray about it, receive forgiveness and make restitution wherever possible, we can go forward and live in such a manner as to break the generational sin patterns in our families. One thing I know about the Lord however – He specializes in answering the prayer of His saints and building new things out of devastation. There is hope for all of our families. The solution for us is to keep praying for each of them – even the rebels – and trusting that God will turn things around in their lives so that they come to a place of peace with God.

Questions:

1. Give another example of a Biblical character whose family suffered from generational sin problems.
2. Give an example of someone who broke the generational sin patterns in their family.

God Can Forgive, But Some Consequence Will Remain

May 28 – Today’s Readings – 2Samuel 10-12 and Psalms 148

David is well known for a lot of things – positive things – Godly things – kingdom building things. He is rarely spoken of, however without mention of “his sin with Bathsheba”. If you were Bathsheba, how would you like your name to be so closely associated with immorality and murder in the Bible? This is exactly what happened in her life however.I’ve heard it insinuated that Bathsheba was to blame for the whole thing – bathing on a rooftop – not saying “no” to David. The only problem I have with these criticisms is that the rooftop is where the bath was located in these homes! She was bathing at night to avoid being seen by anyone who might have been on the roof of the palace nearby – and the King wasn’t supposed to be at his palace anyway – he was supposed to be out at war where her husband was. The king had probably already gone to bed, so the lamps were off in the palace and all was dark – as far as she knew, she was bathing in complete privacy with only a small oil lamp to light her way. The other problem of course is that in those days YOU COULD NOT SAY NO to a king. When summoned to the palace, she probably was very alarmed, thinking something might have happened to her husband. Why else would they call her at such an hour? As I read it, David “slept with her”. This was not her enticing him; – this was him “taking” her and her not being able to do much about it. When her husband was killed she “grieved” for him. Was this a fake grief? I rather doubt it. Who would not grieve over the death of a loyal, faithful, righteous individual? No, the only person who did not grieve at the time was David. We dare not ever minimize the moral disaster surrounding these events in David’s life. Neither can we overlook the shame that is brought to the name of Christ when men of God publicly fall into the snares of the Devil in our generation. These are issues of terrible moral consequence – a moment in time when our enemy laughs out loud at the imminent destruction of a circle of people.

Is there any “good news” in all of this? No, but thank God, He can forgive even gross irresponsibly – the murder of not only Uriah but all the men who were with him – taking advantage of and having sex with another man’s wife – and deceitfully covering up the disgraceful behavior. The biggest question that I have is – Can this happen to us? Yes, it can if we do not take careful heed to our ways. We dare not let our guard down. We dare not find ourselves in a lazy spiritual mode. We dare not allow ourselves to be “at ease” when it comes to staying close to Jesus and rooting out the strongholds of sin in our lives!

The other thought I have concerning this event is; when David had fully repented and been restored in relationship with The Lord (Amazing Grace), life continued on for David and Bathsheba. David knew enough to throw himself on the mercy of God; “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) God did restore David and this couple went on to do great things in the kingdom. Remember this – there is no sin that God will not forgive except the sin of dying while resisting the Holy Spirit and not running to God. His arms are open and His forgiveness is sure.

David and Bathsheba went on to give birth to the direct ancestor in the lineage of Jesus!

Questions:

1. David committed adultery, murder, and a host of other sins in this passage – how did he find forgiveness?
2. David went on to do great things for God after these major sins – how did he find the courage and freedom to do so?

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