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Tag: humility

David & Abigail

Last week we looked at just the first half of a story in 1 Samuel chapter 25.

It’s the story of David as he interacted with a sheep farmer named Nabal. Now Nabal, who was known for being crude and mean in all his dealings, was quite a contrast to his wife, Abigail, who was known for being sensible and beautiful! These two characters couldn’t be more different!

And we haven’t seen much of Abigail in this story so far, but we’ve had a quite an introduction to Nabal!

You see, this story all begins at sheep-shearing time – a time of feasting and celebration – very much like our own Thanksgiving celebrations this weekend! David has recently been camped near Nabal’s shepherds around the town of Carmel. And David had been very good to Nabal’s shepherds as they camped near each other. David’s men had kept them safe from the Philistine raiders and nothing was ever stolen from them during their time together… 

And so, when David hears that Nabal is sheering his sheep and is having a great celebration, he sends messengers to Nabal asking if Nabal could kindly share whatever provisions he could with his friend David and his men!

Nabal, however – true to his reputation, would do nothing of the sort and responded by heaping insults upon David and sent David’s messengers home empty-handed. 

As you might imagine, this did not sit well with David who’s only recorded response was to tell his men “Grab your swords” as he strapped on his own! In a classic case of wild over-reaction, David sets out to murder Nabal in retaliation for his insults! Of course, this is quite out of character for David – a guy who is called “a man after God’s own heart” – a guy who has repeatedly had compassion and mercy on King Saul even while Saul was trying to kill him.

So it seems kinda odd that David would foolishly rush to murder Nabal simply for being rude and selfish! And we talked a little bit last week about why he might have done so, but one thing is for sure: Even the best of us are aways susceptible to sin! We ought not think we’ve matured beyond the point of being able to mess up big time – cuz that’s just what David is about to do.

And that’s about where we left off last week – David and 400 of his men are armed and headed towards Nabal’s house with the intent to murder every man in Nabal’s household.

So this morning, we’re going to see how this all turns out.

We pick up the story now as the scene shifts back to Nabal’s home. It says in 1 Samuel chapter 25, verse 14…

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The Value of Doctrine

Last week we began part two of our Visual Theology message series. You’ll recall that there are four main sections that we want to look at – four reasons why we study theology. 

#1. We want to grow close to Christ, 

#2. we want to understand the work of Christ, 

#3. we want to become like Christ, and 

#4. we want to live for Christ.

Those four things really summarize the four basic goals of the Christian life!

So last week we began looking at “Understanding the work of Christ” and we started with a super-condensed summary of everything that God has been doing since time began. We saw how all of history is part of God’s unfolding drama.  It’s like God is the ultimate writer and director, the world is the stage, and all of mankind are the actors. 

And we divided up this drama into four main acts.

  • Act 1 is Creation where God created the world and made everything good. 
  • Act 2 is the Fall where mankind chose to rebel against God and thus introduced sin and its consequences into the world. 
  • Act 3 is Redemption where God sent his Son Jesus to save us from our sin and it’s terrible consequences.
  • Act 4 is New Creation where God will finally eliminate sin and will once again make everything right.

And we discovered that we are currently living in Act 3 – where everyone of us has the opportunity to respond to God’s gracious offer of redemption which was made possible for us by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Now is the time to make that decision. Now is the time to invite others to make that decision. Because at any moment, we could move into Act 4 when Christ returns to judge and eliminate sin and to restore His good creation for all who have been redeemed.

So last week really was a really big picture of what God is doing in the world.

Now today we’re going to shift our focus just a little bit. This morning, I want to spend some time talking about doctrine.

Now the word ‘doctrine’ is just about as intimidating as the word ‘theology’ – but it isn’t as scary as you might think. Doctrine really just means ‘teachings’. In the context of the church, it simply refers to what we believe and teach about God, about the Bible, about salvation, about ourselves, about the church, and all that stuff.

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The Humbling Element of Fasting

Well, this week our church did something a little bit unusual – something that has never done in this church before. In fact, as far as I can remember, I’ve never been part of a church that did anything like this. But on Wednesday over the lunch hour, together as a church family, we fasted. Instead of eating our normal Wednesday lunch, we instead, spent that time fasting and  praying for our community. Which was really pretty cool, and if you didn’t get a chance to join us this time, I’m sure we’re going to be doing this again… But for those of you are just joining us today, let me give you some quick background to all this.

Over the past couple of months we have been looking at the spiritual disciplines – or the healthy habits of Christians that help us draw near to God and that help us grow deeper in our relationship with Him. They change our understanding of who God is and how He’s working in our world.

We looked first of all, at how we can see glimpses of God in Creation. God’s fingerprints are everywhere around us – in the vastness of the galaxies or the complexity of our DNA or in the wonder of a baby being born or simply in the beauty of a sunset. We see the evidence of God everywhere.

But of course, while the heaven’s do declare the glory of God, His creation doesn’t tell us everything we need to know about what He has done. That’s why God has given us His Word – the Bible. And so we spent several weeks looking at how we know that the Bible really is God’s Word and how reading and understanding it changes us as we learn more about who God really is and what He’s really like.

And while God communicates to us primarily through His Word, He has given us the ability to communicate with Him primarily through prayer. And so we spend a few weeks looking at why would should pray. Why pray to a God who already knows everything we need and who has already promised to provide it? We saw how prayer is an invitation for God to be active and involved and sovereign in our lives. It’s actually an act of worship when we pray.

And then most recently, for the last two Sundays, we’ve been talking about fasting. And fasting isn’t nearly as common-place these days as prayer or Bible reading – although I think it should be because it is an excellent way for us to draw close to God.  Fasting is a way for us to focus on the most important things in life – not just the urgent things in life. When we give up food for a certain amount of time, to instead focus on God and our relationship with Him, our hunger reminds us how desperate we are for Him – and how much we depend on Him every moment of every day. It also reminds us that this life here and now is not all there is! We are looking forward to the day when this life is over and we can see Jesus face-to-face and can spend the rest of eternity with Him – feasting and celebrating and being fully satisfied for the rest of all time! Fasting is such a good reminder of that.

And so that’s why on Wednesday, we decided to fast together as a church. I know that many Christians have never fasted before. It’s a relatively new practice for me as well. And so this was really an experiment in fasting and I hope you’ll continue to experiment with it!

Now today I want us to look at one more aspect of prayer and fasting. And by no means, have we covered it all! The more I learn about fasting, the more I realize how little I know. So far, we’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at how fasting impacts us – how it changes our perspectives and reminds of things that we are usually quick to forget. But today I want to focus on how fasting impacts our prayers.

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Bowing in Submission

For those of you who missed last week, or for those who have a terrible memory, last week we started talking about engaging with God. And the primary way that we do that is through worship. And we’re not just talking about worship music, although that is certainly a part of it. Worship in it’s simplest form, is just saying thanks to God. It’s about acknowledging who God is and what He’s done and continually having an attitude of thankfulness because of that. So, if you want to begin to engage with God – to really connect with Him, start saying thanks. And that’s where our list of “100 things to be thankful for” came in.

Now this morning, we’re going to continue exploring how to engage with God. And I think it’s important for us to remember who God is. If we’re going to engage with God, we have to realize that God is not just another person. We tend to try to bring God down to our level. To think of Him almost as an equal.

But that’s not the case. Yes, we are created in His image, but He is so infinitely more in every way than we are. So to help us keep perspective as we endeavor to engage with God, let’s just look at some of the ways the Bible describes God for us.

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