Series: Kingdom Congress 2016
Sunday am 9th October 2016 – Alan Scotland
(Matt. 10:16); I Sam. 30: 1-20; (John 9:1-2); (Job 1:6-12); (Ps. 23:4); Ps. 27:14; 2 Cor. 12:9; (John 8:59)
I want to speak to you as a church in terms of the most critical phase that you are in, which is in line with what is happening all over the world. The Lord said that ‘I send you as lambs amongst wolves’ (Matt. 10:16). That has never changed in any century for the church of Jesus-Christ. There is always a challenge facing the Church on how to have an impact because of the nature of our salt, the truth that we carry and the light that brings hope; the light of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus-Christ. Seasons come and go, and areas change but we have one constant: the Lord remains in charge of His Church and we are but stewards of His house. To individual churches, the challenges are the transitions that are taking place. We are in perpetual change. There are highs and there are lows and we have to know that we are dependent on God. If we are not dependent on God we will be disappointed.
I want to talk a little bit about depending on God even in crisis. I Sam. 30: 1-20 is a phenomenal story. David is anointed to be king. For this purpose God took hold of him and up until that moment when the prophet recognised him he was inconsequential. Who is this boy? God’s heart is towards him; a shepherd boy. God came to him through the prophet and He was prophesied a wonderful future and he was anointed to be king. There are a lot of stories out there about anointing in Christian circles. The fact that you are anointed does not mean that you are kept from the ‘grit’ of everyday life and challenges. Otherwise you are a robot with no expression of gratitude and no understanding of the goodness of God and the harshness of reality. The anointing does not mean that you will have it all your own way. Anointing does not mean that you walk on clouds and you do not walk on ‘terra firma’. It does not mean that you are not going to think, or that you are never going to pray. It is not so much the enemy without but it is the enemy within. The problem creeps up on you. Remember Job, the way the old devil was telling God that he was only superficial (Job. 1:6-12). Remember the disciples when they asked Jesus who sinned for the man to be born blind, always with a negative connotation (John 9:1-2). When there is a crisis there is always someone undermining. The devil does not need to work; he goes on holiday the way you talk.
God said you will not escape your humanity. This is what it is about. Your will be done in this terra firma (earth). Your will be done in my life though the good and through the bad! So that people know that I trust in You, I believe in You that You are not a distraction to me. You are the centre of my universe! Let us get real! Whatever challenges you are facing, God knows about it. You are not alone; you were bought at a price. Even if I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil, because You are with me (Ps. 23:4). So David is anointed and yet he is in trouble. David was running away from Saul who was out to take his life because he was jealous. Half of our challenges are not theological, but relational. David learned the hard way. Sometimes you have to understand that if God can entrust you with discouragement, with challenges, with difficulties it is for a reason. It is so that you do not remain naïve or become a slave of a lesser loyalty. Your loyalty is to Him and all that He has done for you.
David lived in exile in Ziklag for ten years. I am talking about the king! The one who was to epitomize the Messiah. For a whole decade he was on the run but he was anointed! The challenges we face in our world are not to diminish us; they are to increase our status. My greatest enemies were people who had no room for the Spirit, no room for the Word and no room for my generation to emerge. God had to educate me. David had a hard time but it was okay. You may be having a hard time but it is okay. The issue is how you handle it. David wrote a psalm: Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart (Ps. 27:14). Where did he get these psalms from? It came from the depth of the reality of the ‘grit’ of life.
- Get used to the ‘grit’ of life! That is what Jesus was born into. That is what David had. That is what I welcome you to: the ‘grit’ of life if you have not woken up to that reality. Jesus has already paved the way for us. The most creative moment is also the most dangerous moment. Any time of shift or change is going to be a ‘Kairos’ moment. It is a dangerous time but a creative time too. This church is at the ‘Kairos’ moment. You are in the ‘grit’ and it is a great place to be.
- Grace is the second thing. My grace is sufficient for you (2 Cor. 12:9). Sometimes we do not like the mud; we do not like the ‘grit’ so we need to draw on the grace. Ziklag has two verbs to its name. The first verb is a place of intense pressure, and the second verb is releasing the precious. It is really about smelting. It is a place of pressure and the pressure is to bring out the best of what is inside. That is why God designed Church; that is why God designed marriage, to sanctify you. God wants to mature us, He wants to grow us. He wants to deepen us, to establish us so that we become pillars of righteousness, foundations that are built upon on the rock. The rock is a safe place. God knows more about suffering than anybody else on the planet. Then there are these mighty men with him who have lost everything. They are helpless. All they can do is to cry. David’s mighty men are speechless. Then they turn from sweet to bitter. Be careful because you have options. You can choose your attitude. They were thinking inside of themselves, “Who can we blame? We will blame the anointed, the king. We are not only going to blame him, we are going to kill him.” David was under threat. Is this not like the Lord Jesus Christ when He stood up and preached under the anointing of God and bringing a message of hope, but they did not like it. So they picked up stones to kill Him. He got up and walked right through the middle of them, they could not touch him (John 8:59). I believe in the grace of God being sufficient. There are moments when you feel so dried up, so dried out yet you are still going to look like you have no mud, no ‘grit’ on you, but your heart is broken. You can choose to be bitter or sweet. If you choose to be sweet, you are going to be better off. But if the root of bitterness takes hold of you, you will not even see the root anymore. It is going to be in your attitude, in your mannerism, in your spirit to the point that you are looking for someone to kill. Hatred is the first motivation of murder next to jealousy. So you have to depend on the grace of God even when you are in the ‘grit’, when you are discouraged. So David strengthens himself. He calls on the priest who was the only surviving priest from of all the priests that Saul did not manage to kill. He was a man who knew suffering, pain and discouragement, yet he was still a priest. David asked for the ephod. David needed to come into the presence of God and to signify that he could not do it himself. He wanted to know want the Lord required. The decision making process has to do with the voice of God. This place does not exist without the voice of God. Leadership has no right to be in leadership without the voice of God. It is not what you want to be but what God wants you to be! So you handle very carefully when you position people in leadership. Remember that God appoints them, and when God appoints them, be very careful how you handle them. The decision is clear, it is God’s decision. We still believe on waiting on the Lord, we still believe in the voice of God. Equally He carries us in His heart. That is our identity. We are who we are by the grace of God.
- Be a person of gratitude! The hard-nosed covenant people who were with him, who were turning bitter, suddenly saw the hand of God and gave to David the first portion. They expressed gratitude. They changed their heart as they saw God was with David. David goes on his way pursuing and wins the battle. Then they gave David the primary portion of the spoil. They expressed gratitude. Do not be grumpy.
- Be generous. David took what they gave him and blessed others. That is generosity. The hallmark of the kingdom is a generous spirit. When God gives you life, He gives it to you abundantly, when God forgives you, He forgives totally. As a king he is moving in anointing and restoring all that was lost. He is regaining the ground.
- The last ‘G’ is glorious! When God’s people in the ‘grit’ draw on the grace, move in gratitude and become very generous, the total outcome is the glory of God.