April 19, 2015

II Samuel 6-8
David mustered the pick of the troops of Israel—thirty divisions of them. Together with his soldiers, David headed for Baalah to recover the Chest of God, which was called by the Name God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who was enthroned over the pair of angels on the Chest.  They placed the Chest of God on a brand-new oxcart and removed it from Abinadab’s house on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, Abinadab’s sons, were driving the new cart loaded with the Chest of God, Ahio in the lead and Uzzah alongside the Chest. David and the whole company of Israel were in the parade, singing at the top of their lungs and playing mandolins, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals. When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, so Uzzah reached out and grabbed the Chest of God. God blazed in anger against Uzzah and struck him hard because he had profaned the Chest. Uzzah died on the spot, right alongside the Chest.

Then David got angry because of God’s deadly outburst against Uzzah....David became fearful of God that day and said, “This Chest is too hot to handle. How can I ever get it back to the City of David?” He refused to take the Chest of God a step farther. Instead, David removed it off the road and to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The Chest of God stayed at the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months. And God prospered Obed-Edom and his entire household.

It was reported to King David that God had prospered Obed-Edom and his entire household because of the Chest of God. So David thought, “I’ll get that blessing for myself,” and went and brought up the Chest of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David, celebrating extravagantly all the way, with frequent sacrifices of choice bulls. David, ceremonially dressed in priest’s linen, danced with great abandon before God. The whole country was with him as he accompanied the Chest of God with shouts and trumpet blasts. 

But as the Chest of God came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, happened to be looking out a window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before God, her heart filled with scorn.... David returned home to bless his family. Michal, Saul’s daughter, came out to greet him: “How wonderfully the king has distinguished himself today—exposing himself to the eyes of the servants’ maids like some burlesque street dancer!” David replied to Michal, “In God’s presence I’ll dance all I want! He chose me over your father and the rest of our family and made me prince over God’s people, over Israel. Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory—more recklessly even than this. And as far as I’m concerned . . . I’ll gladly look like a fool . . . but among these maids you’re so worried about, I’ll be honored no end.” Michal, Saul’s daughter, was barren the rest of her life.

Before long, the king made himself at home and God gave him peace from all his enemies. Then one day King David said to Nathan the prophet, “Look at this: Here I am, comfortable in a luxurious house of cedar, and the Chest of God sits in a plain tent.” Nathan told the king, “Whatever is on your heart, go and do it. God is with you.” But that night, the word of God came to Nathan saying, “Go and tell my servant David: This is God’s word on the matter: You’re going to build a ‘house’ for me to live in? Why, I haven’t lived in a ‘house’ from the time I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt till now. All that time I’ve moved about with nothing but a tent. And in all my travels with Israel, did I ever say to any of the leaders I commanded to shepherd Israel, ‘Why haven’t you built me a house of cedar?’

“So here is what you are to tell my servant David: The God-of-the-Angel-Armies has this word for you: I took you from the pasture, tagging along after sheep, and made you prince over my people Israel. I was with you everywhere you went and mowed your enemies down before you. Now I’m making you famous, to be ranked with the great names on earth.... Furthermore, God has this message for you: God himself will build you a house! When your life is complete and you’re buried with your ancestors, then I’ll raise up your child, your own flesh and blood, to succeed you, and I’ll firmly establish his rule. He will build a house to honor me, and I will guarantee his kingdom’s rule permanently. I’ll be a father to him, and he’ll be a son to me. When he does wrong, I’ll discipline him in the usual ways, the pitfalls and obstacles of this mortal life. But I’ll never remove my gracious love from him, as I removed it from Saul, who preceded you and whom I most certainly did remove. Your family and your kingdom are permanently secured. I’m keeping my eye on them! And your royal throne will always be there, rock solid.”

Nathan gave David a complete and accurate account of everything he heard and saw in the vision.  King David went in, took his place before God, and prayed: “Who am I, my Master God, and what is my family, that you have brought me to this place in life? But that’s nothing compared to what’s coming, for you’ve also spoken of my family far into the future, given me a glimpse into tomorrow, my Master God! What can I possibly say in the face of all this? You know me, Master God, just as I am. You’ve done all this not because of who I am but because of who you are—out of your very heart!—but you’ve let me in on it.  “This is what makes you so great, Master God! There is none like you, no God but you, nothing to compare with what we’ve heard with our own ears. And who is like your people, like Israel, a nation unique in the earth, whom God set out to redeem for himself (and became most famous for it), performing great and fearsome acts, throwing out nations and their gods left and right as you saved your people from Egypt? You established for yourself a people—your very own Israel!—your people permanently. And you, God, became their God.  

So now, great God, this word that you have spoken to me and my family, guarantee it permanently! Do exactly what you’ve promised! Then your reputation will flourish always as people exclaim, ‘The God-of-the-Angel-Armies is God over Israel!’ And the house of your servant David will remain sure and solid in your watchful presence. For you, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God, told me plainly, ‘I will build you a house.’ That’s how I was able to find the courage to pray this prayer to you.  

And now, Master God, being the God you are, speaking sure words as you do, and having just said this wonderful thing to me, please, just one more thing: Bless my family; keep your eye on them always. You’ve already as much as said that you would, Master God! Oh, may your blessing be on my family permanently!”

In the days that followed, David struck hard at the Philistines— ...He also fought and defeated Moab... On his way to restore his sovereignty at the River Euphrates, David next defeated Hadadezer son of Rehob the king of Zobah... When the Arameans from Damascus came to the aid of Hadadezer king of Zobah, David killed twenty-two thousand of them. David set up a puppet government in Aram-Damascus... Thus David ruled over all of Israel. He ruled well—fair and even-handed in all his duties and relationships.

I Corinthians 8 - ....The question keeps coming up regarding meat that has been offered up to an idol...

Sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds.  We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all.  Some people say, quite rightly, that idols have no actual existence...They say-- again, quite rightly --that there is only one God, the Father....

In strict logic, then, nothing happened to the meat when it was offered up to an idol...but knowing isn’t everything.  If it becomes everything , some people end up as know-it-alls who treat others as know-nothings.  

Real knowledge isn’t that insensitive.  We need to be sensitive to the fact that we’re not all at the same level of understanding in this.

But fortunately God doesn’t grade us on our diet....But God does care when you use your freedom carelessly in a way that leads a fellow believer still vulnerable to those old associations to be thrown off track...

Christ gave up his life for that person who becomes terribly confused if you eat it but they feel shouldn’t.  Wouldn’t you at least be willing to give up going to dinner with him--because as you say, it doesn’t really make any difference?  But it does make a difference if you hurt your friend terribly, risking his eternal ruin.  When you hurt your friend, you hurt Christ.