I remember an account, that I heard years ago, from a follower of Jesus who was taken advantage of by a contractor who was a leader in a solid Bible believing church. One of the greatest hindrances in our culture today is followers of Jesus that are not living up to the Biblical standard.
This month we kicked off our “Let God Use Me” sermon series. It is our annual Celebrate Summer series for 2018. Each year we alternate between a series from the Old Testament and the New Testament. This summer we are focusing on the book of 2 Samuel which focuses on the life of David. This book begins with the death of Saul and the coronation of David as King of Judah, and later all of Israel, and ends with his death.
It is a shame that most people, when they think of David, remember his failure with Bathsheba and as a result overlook the other aspects of his life. This account serves as a warning to followers of Jesus to not get sluggish in our spiritual lives. But our focus on David’s failure causes us to miss important lessons from his reign as King of Judah. This summer we will be looking at the spiritual lessons that can be caught from David’s example. This past week we looked at the importance of patience from 2 Samuel 2.
Patience is one of the character qualities that each of us need, and some of the bolder ones maybe even desire but do not want to go through the process. Maybe you have heard a fellow follower say, “ Never pray for God to give you patience.” Jesus’ brother James reminds us why many believers will not pray that prayer. He writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2–3) Yet what many followers miss is that it is those tough times that prepare us to be used by Jesus in a great way. I agree with the statement, “You will never be a good leader until you learn to be a good follower.” The simple Biblical truth is that God is more interested in our character than our comfort. It is the character of patience that enables us to be mightily used by Him.
This past Sunday I emphasized three aspects of patience in David’s life that made him a great King and allowed him to turn around a dysfunctional nation. First, patience motivates us to seek Jesus’ direction in our situation. David’s patience, obviously learned from living 10 years on the run as a wanted man, was demonstrated by seeking the Lord’s direction at the news of King Saul’s Death. When we are walking with God we are free from having to manipulate situations and others for our benefit. A second demonstration of patience was seen in his graciousness towards those that retrieved King Saul’s body and gave it a proper burial. David showed respect for King Saul instead of bitter resentment. It enabled him to be gracious to these men and probably won over potential future enemies. Godly patience allows us to be gracious with others, like the person that cuts in front of us, because we are walking with Jesus and the third demonstration of David’s patience was living above the drama of life. The account of the battle at Gibeon reveals the challenges of working with people and gives us a glimpse of great drama to come in David’s cabinet. We will learn in the next chapter of how Joab (David’s cousin) and Abner (King Saul’s cousin) wind up on David’s leadership team. Yet, because of David’s relationship with the Lord he is able to be patient and allow God to work. It would take two years before he would be the King of all Israel. But David’s relationship with God, developed through the difficult season, allowed him to wait upon his God. What about you?
-Pastor Joe Parkinson