Too Good an Employee

So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely. And Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. 6 Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing…So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”   1 Samuel 18:5-7

Great EmployeeI read an article that warned against being too good an employee. You stick out, make other people look bad, possibly including your boss, and turn yourself into a target.

That’s what happened to David despite his best efforts to keep himself in line. Saul heard the women singing about David’s ten thousands defeated enemies as opposed to his thousands. It didn’t sit too well with him. David literally became a target for Saul, who feared losing his throne to him.

Saul cast the spear, for he said, “I will pin David to the wall!” But David escaped his presence twice.

He even tried to get him to marry his daughter “…that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.”

saul-spears-davidSaul made many plots against David’s life, always failing. First, David always minded himself. Second, God was with him. Third, Saul’s own son, Jonathon, felt toward David like a brother and helped protect David from his father.

David ended up roaming the countryside with 400 men who were loyal to him. He saved the city of Keilah from Philistine raids, but only after asking God if that was His will.

David even had opportunity to kill Saul in his camp when Saul was out chasing him down, but he held his hand. He would not kill someone anointed by God even though he’d gone bad.

David eventually realized that Saul would never give up, and he could not continue to evade him in the strongholds of the wilderness. He allied himself with the Philistines of all people! Their King Achish was willing to take David’s loyalty at his word, but the lords of his kingdom did not trust the man who had killed Goliath and many more Philistines, so he couldn’t stay.

Overall we have a clear pattern to see: Saul had one spirit of evil (not the troubling spirit) and David had God’s Spirit. Being good is a problem in this world. Jesus even warned that He was persecuted, so His followers should expect no less. Still things worked out for David in the long run as it will for us.

Sauls Death

The end…

Saul was eventually killed in battle along with his son, Jonathon, and David ascended the throne. Unfortunately, success will breed contempt in David as it has and continues to do throughout human history.

David is an incredibly important person for us to know about for a variety of reasons. First, David was a prophet. He actually communicated directly with God. For example, not the above instance when David asked God about defending a city, which he did after God telling him to go ahead. God told him! God didn’t give him a sign or send prophet to relay the message. God spoke to David!

Jesus on ThroneDavid established a unified Jewish nation for first time in their history. He founded the throne that would eventually be occupied by Jesus, the Christ! Jesus is often referred to as “Prophet, Priest, and King.” David was a king and a prophet. One might be able to argue that he was also a priest of sorts in that he brought the ark to Jerusalem, leading the procession to the tabernacle.

God Himself described David as “a man after My own heart.” Although he didn’t always succeed, David always strove to keep God’s Word and act righteously.

David, as an ancestor of Jesus, is critical in foreshadowing Jesus’ coming and His suffering and death for humanity, both in his actions and in his psalms. Many of them are Messianic, meaning they foretell the coming Messiah and describe what He will do. Psalm 22 describes a crucifixion in detail although it was a form of execution unknown at the time.

David was also as fallible as you and me. His failures were spectacular, even horribly repulsive. David has a lot to teach us about sin, forgiveness, and consequences.

David. He was too good an employee, and he became a target for everyone from Saul to his own sons. When he stumbled, others were quick to pounce on the “too-perfect” guy who slipped up.

The question I’ll leave you with is really quite simple: when it comes to God and doing His will, are you too good an employee? Will the world look at you and want to target you just as it did Jesus and His disciples? If the world starts coming after you, all I can say is, “Congratulations!”

Quote for 10/17/2018

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.     Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

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Building on yesterday’s Quote and contemplation, today’s verse reassures and gives comforting reason for the hopeful sighs I described yesterday. It’s as if this promise from God in Jeremiah should immediately follow yesterday’s longing for God’s salvation.

We yearn, and God promises!

God made everything for people! All He ever wanted to was to create beings in His own image that He could have a relationship with, that he could love. That included the sheer joy He would have in just watching humanity enjoy the Creation He gave them.

Analogy: I went to London many years ago on business. It was a great experience, but it was incomplete. My family was back home. I was able to return to London with them a few years later. It was as if I were there for the first time. My joy, as it were, was complete in watching my wife and daughters enjoy the experience I was able to provide them. My thoughts for them were of love and peace and not of evil.

So it is with God. He provides us with His perfect “London.” All He wants is to have the pleasure of having us enjoy it with Him and love Him back.

No wonder that the human heart always yearns, but doesn’t always know what for. No wonder that the hole in our hearts never fills until we invite God in. He is all there is in all Creation that wishes us only peace and not evil.

Quote for 10/16/2018

Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation.   Psalm 62:1 NKJV

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The world is a hard place to be, what with Satan in charge and all of creation suffering the effects of Adam and Eve’s original sin. Society continues to coarsen and move away from God. My efforts to live rightly are constantly frustrated by the world around me and my own sinful nature within.

My life is a sigh.

I sigh in frustration. I sigh as I look forward to the time when God will redeem me into His eternal Presence!

My soul sighs and waits for God. I confess the waiting is not always silent. Frustration escapes my lips and finds expression in prayer.

Still, I wait. There is only one answer to it all, and I wait for that. I wait for God!

Quote for 10/15/2018

…as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.   1 Peter 2:16

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“YAY! I’m forgiven! Sin isn’t a problem anymore!

Hey…wait a minute. If all my sins are forgiven, then that means I can sin all I want, right? That is SOOOO COOL!”

Actually, no. Forgiveness does NOT equal license to sin! Forgiveness was bought for us by great sacrifice, great pain and suffering by Jesus taking our punishment for us. Every time we sin it’s like we personally lay a whip on Jesus’ back, strike one of the nails piercing His ravaged body, and spit in His face.

If you forgive a friend for a great wrong done, would you expect that friend to turn your tolerance into a license to sin? If he keeps coming back to say he’s sorry, but then motors off to sin again would you call that the soul-deep repentance Jesus asks for to receive His forgiveness?

You wouldn’t! Neither would I.

Neither does God.

Our loving response for such tolerance should be a whole-hearted effort to keep ourselves out of trouble. It should be sheer mortification when we slip up and crawl back to Jesus’ throne of mercy.

King David Some – Context

King DavidIt happened after this that David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up to any of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.” David said, “Where shall I go up?” And He said, “To Hebron.” So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite. And David brought up the men who were with him, every man with his household. So they dwelt in the cities of Hebron. Then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.   2 Samuel 2:1-4

The first thing is historical dating. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been working on building my own timeline called “Creation Plus.” Yes, I know I can buy one, but doing it myself is so much more instructional!

I’ve been able to date most major biblical events from Creation through Israel finally entering Canaan after wandering for 40 years in the wilderness. That was in 2706 C.P. There are no time cues to be found from then on all the way through the Judges, Samuel, and even King Saul.

The next date I can reliably calculate is when David officially takes the throne in 3098 C.P.. Even then I had to go to Solomon’s temple and use time cues to work backwards!

3098 C.P. is when David’s 40 year reign started, but that was only over Judah. Seven years later in 3105 C.P. he unites the kingdoms of Judah and Israel for the very first time! Think on it!

The ExodusThe Israelites started out as runaway slaves in 2666 C.P. They wander the wilderness for 40 years after their escape and time at Mt. Sinai as a group and begin to form a national identity. Each of the twelve tribes then is given their portion of God’s Promised Land in Canaan, so they essentially separate back into tribes and lose that cohesion they had. There are disputes as to just how much each should help the other in displacing the Canaanites in war, personal conflicts involving land and women, and the like.

Under God’s direction and providence, David is the first man to unite all Jews as one nation 439 years after the Exodus! Phenomenal!!

Imagine my shock several years ago when I read an article about an archeological discovery that confirms King David’s existence…and how it surprised even some biblical scholars who have doubted that King David was ever real!

Imagine my shock that anyone – let alone any biblical scholar – would actually doubt that King David existed!

Their belief is that he was never a single person but rather a unification of several individuals that history mushed together into the identity of King David. That’s somewhat like Robin Hood, who may have been a real person, but certainly a variety of literary personas who were romanticized into the character we know today.

Tel Dan Stele

The Tel Dan Stele

The discovery in the article is an ancient piece of stone engraved with some history about a conflict. When someone wanted to tell a story that they wanted to last, they “wrote” it in stone. We call such stones today “steles.” The discovery is called the Tel Dan Stele, so named for the place it was found.

The excitement over the Tel Dan Stele is that it…

…tells of a war waged by the author (hereafter called Hazael) against his enemies, the kings of Israel and the “House of David”. The names of the two enemy kings are only partially legible. Biran and Naveh reconstructed them as Joram, son of Ahab, King of Israel, and Ahaziah, son of Joram of the House of David. Scholars seem to be evenly divided on these identifications.[7]

If you’d like to read the article along with sources, go to King David: Fact or Fiction?

Here are a few quick fact checks that should have helped scholars realize that King David was real.

Jerusalem was not the original capital of Israel. It was a well-fortified city held by Godless people who should’ve been expelled long ago in the original possession of Canaan. David was the one who figured out how to climb in through the unprotected underground water way to get in.

Solomon’s Temple. Who’s temple? Solomon’s. Who was Solomon’s daddy? King David. Which biblical scholar thought he could start with the temple and work his way back to…someone else or nobody?

King David accomplished great things! He was especially blessed by God as a prophet; recall how many of his psalms foretold Jesus’ coming and crucifixion. In fact, Psalm 22 describes the crucifixion precisely even though crucifixion was unknown in David’s time.

Another thought on King David is his greatness. Greatness is highly over-rated. History has shown time and again that a person’s personal life turns to goes bad in inverse proportion to their greatness.

How many “great” musicians and actors have great personal lives, including no divorces, no drug problems, no kid problems, no fidelity problems, etc. What about the greatness of getting to the moon in 1969? The rate of family problems and divorce was horrendous! One of the flight controllers admitted he never would have signed on, if he’d had a clue as to how badly it would wreck his life!

King David was incredibly great! You can bet we’ll be talking about parts of his personal life that were equally abysmal!

Quote for 10/14/2018

Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days. There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.   Proverbs 19:20-21 NKJV

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Another verse in Proverbs encourages parents to “teach a child in the way he should go, and he will not depart from it.”

Today’s verse is the flip side of that, good for children and adults. Learn now when you learn the best so that wisdom will remain in old age. Indeed, things I learned in grade school remain. The elderly who suffer from dementia lose all but their oldest memories until those finally fade also.

Life from God is a gift for us to both enjoy and manage well. We should always do our best to plan and work toward the future. We should only do so, however, with the understanding, indeed with the hope that God will always intercede with His wisdom and improved plans!

The old joke goes something like, “If you want to amuse God, tell Him your plans.”

The best part of that is that God wants us to share our plans and lives with Him. Just don’t be so stuck to them that you end up putting your desires ahead of God’s.

This is where that bit about learning good counsel early on comes in!

David & Goliath

And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. 7 Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels;    1 Samuel 17:4-7

This is a very familiar story: Goliath challenges the army of Saul to send out a champion to fight him one-on-one to decide the victor as opposed to an all-out battle. He issues his challenge every day for 40 days, but no one’s willing to go up against him.

Davids Sling for GoliathDavid shows up with some food for his brothers, hears the challenge, and asks what everyone’s problem is. Heck! I’LL go fight him! After refusing Saul’s armor, he just goes out with his sling and picks up a few smooth stones from the river bed. He hits the gap in Goliath’s helmet, hitting his forehead and knocking him out on the first try. Then he cuts off Goliath’s head with his own sword, winning the day.

It’s tempting to call Saul’s army a bunch of cowards and David just being sensibly faithful, but let’s take a closer look.

I researched the measures stated in the Bible and found what they equal in today’s units to show just how big Goliath was.

  • Height: 9.6 feet
  • Bronze coat of mail: 155.3 pounds
  • Spearhead: 18.6 pounds attached to a shaft of wood like a weaver’s beam. My best guess is at least 6-8 feet. And wood is heavy!
Andre the Giant

Smaller than Goliath!!

Goliath was at least two feet taller than Andre’ the Giant’s 7’4”. Andre’s reported weight was 520 pounds. Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdinck) was in the movie The Princess Bride with Andre’. His daughters were excited to meet a real life giant. When they entered his trailer and actually saw how big he was they ran screaming from the trailer. Andre’ said it was the same with adults; same ran toward him and others ran away. He was used to it.

Some guys once gave him a really hard time in a bar. Once. It’s the only time I read when Andre’ actually lost his temper. He followed them out to their car and flipped it with them in it. Bare-handed. Drunk.

Goliath would have kicked Andre’s ass. Easily.

Plus the entire Philistine army was over-sized. They were part of the Canaanite tribes Israel was supposed to wipe out in whose sight the spies that went in felt like grasshoppers. Goliath was just the biggest of the bunch that day.

2 Samuel 21 records that Goliath had four brothers who tried to avenge Goliath’s death years later.

Ishbi-Benob is described as a son of the giant, meaning Goliath’s father. His size is not recorded, but his spear weighed 9.3 pounds, lighter than Goliath’s spear head, but sizable. Remember that a shot put in track and field, for example, a men’s ball weighs 16 pounds. Heavier, but not as unwieldy.

Another brother, Saph, was killed in a later battle, but no figures are given. We’re only told he was another son of the giant. Another unnamed brother of Goliath was killed at another battle, whose spear was also like a weaver’s beam.

One last unnamed son, also from the giant, was killed, so all four of Goliath’s brothers were killed in battle years after Goliath. While no size is given, it is noted that he had 6 digits on each hand and foot, just as is noted in other places regarding the giants or Nephilim.

My point is that Saul’s men were not sissies’. No one in their right mind would go after a battle-hardened man who could almost bump his head on a basketball hoop. Their only problem was one of faith.

David had no such problem. He trusted God to defeat someone who was defaming God’s name and people. His faith gave him bravery that was completely overwhelming to the problem at hand.

I don’t think this means that we should go after anything old thing with faith and expect to come out on top. Jesus was pretty clear that we ask and do not receive, because we ask amiss.

Goliath was trashing God and God’s people. David’s faith and expectation was in line. Plus, this was something God used to begin David’s path to the throne.

Still, faith is always the answer whether we are to actively fight or have faith to let go and let God, as the saying goes. After all, “Vengeance is Mine”, says God.

Quote for 10/13/2018

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.   Proverbs 18:24

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I checked multiple translations, because “must” can be taken two ways here: either you know someone “must” be friendly due to how many friends he has or you always have to show yourself as friendly with so many friends to avoid trouble. In a word, be a hypocrite.

It turns out the latter reading is the correct one. Proverbs is telling us that playing at friendship is always a dangerous game. People can turn on you instantly over real or perceived slights. These friendships are worthless!

You want to find the friend who will be as a blood brother who will stick with you no matter what. Even more importantly, you want to be that sort of friend yourself!

Facebook, twitter, etc. can be good communication platforms, but they are also a bragging ground over how many followers/friends they have.

The question becomes how many friends you think is important or what kind of friends you think is important. And which way you want to be yourself.

Quote for 10/12/2018

You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.   Deuteronomy 13:4 NKJV

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God might come off a bit demanding in this verse, but I assure you that is not the case. Let’s try an analogy.

The ship’s captain warns you to stay away from the railing, and definitely don’t jump into the water. Someone later tells you the captain is full of it. Standing so close to the edge is a thrill the captain doesn’t want to share with you. Jumping over board? Man, you haven’t lived until you’ve taken a dip in the open ocean.

You think about it, buy the line that the captain isn’t really on your side, and you jump. You suddenly realize what a putz you are, instantly regretting your foolish decision!

The captain realize you’re missing, stops the ship, and turns around for you. He finds you and throws you a life ring. As he works to hall you back on board, which isn’t going to be easy, he’s telling you to do everything he tells you to. Respect him and his experience. Follow the rules from now on. Listen when he tells you something, and just hold on tight!

Still sound demanding?

Quote for 10/11/2018

I, even I, am the Lord, And besides Me there is no savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, And there was no foreign god among you; Therefore you are My witnesses,” Says the Lord, “that I am God.   Isaiah 43:11-12 NKJV

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These verses are more or less in the middle of chapter 43 which is set in verse, not prose. God is using song to making His point. He is waxing poetic to reach Israel on an emotional level in addition to the facts. Verses 11-12 are a sort of summary mid-speech to make sure Israel is getting the point before continuing.

And what’s the point? “Look at everything I’ve done for you!!!”

This isn’t entirely a “You owe Me” speech. This is more of:

“Remember Who’s talking to you here. I created you, chose your line starting back with Abraham and on through Isaac and Jacob to be special out of every people in all of Creation. When I say I’ll protect you, count in it. When I say I’ll save you from your sins, you can take it to the bank. This is ME talking here!

“I Am God!”

You and I are officially Gentiles. God was specifically talking to just the Jews in these verses. Now, however, we’re part of the family through our adoption in Jesus’ blood. He is most definitely talking to us now!

“This is Me here. Not chopped liver (the Jews would definitely understand that). Look at everything I’ve done for you…just in case you aren’t sure. When I tell you I’ve got you safely set for eternity, believe it! Just don’t walk away from ME.  You have free will, and I won’t force you, so the only person who can screw you on this deal is you.

“This is Me here. Stick around, because I’m going nowhere.”