Posts tagged Sermon Series King David
Monday Message: God and Money

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD…    1 Chronicles 17:16

We are presently in the midst of stewardship season at Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church.  It is the time of year we are asking those who are part of our community to commit financially to the church for the coming year.  Yet, even as we invite people to pledge to the church, we are aware that this season is often more about relationship than it is about money.  In fact, the fact that it is about money simply gives us new perspective on our relationship with God.

Last Sunday, we recounted the time when God told King David, “Keep your money, I don’t need it.”  The truth is that God does not need our money.  What God desires instead is a relationship with us that includes giving and receiving.  When David offered to give without a sense of the connectedness of having received, God frankly wasn’t interested.

Giving without an awareness of the partnership of God in our lives develops an unhealthy relationship with God.  It misunderstands the ways that God is already present in our lives and in our finances.  It misunderstands the opportunity to continue to partner with God in charity to those in need and support of ministry that honors God’s name.  It misunderstands it by making the transaction financial instead of relational. 

When we give and receive with an awareness of God’s partnership in our lives, we move in relationship.  We participate in the Kingdom of God.  

When David was faced with this distinction, he came into the Presence of God and sat down.  He did not try to “do.”  He did not try to give.  He rested in who God was and the ways God desired to partner with him in life.  

Before we give, we should pause in the Presence of God.  Like King David, we need to listen to the places God has been moving in our lives already.  We need to receive the promises that he makes to uphold and establish us.  Then we can respond with humility, gratitude, and partnership with God.

Jesus, money is often difficult for us to talk about in church.  We confess the ways that we have seen money abused in your name.  We confess the ways we have felt manipulated and shamed about money in your name.  Open our eyes so that we can begin to know your Presence with us now.  Teach us to give freely in partnership with you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

Monday Message: ...the things that are God's

1 Chronicles 29:1-18
Psalm 51
Mark 12:13-17
 
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me…Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Psalm 51:10, 13
 
On a Sunday when we wake up and hear the news of the deadliest mass shooting in United States history, it seems trivial to hear a sermon about tithing and stewardship. But, at the heart of these texts, we learn that God asks us to give our full selves. God calls us to give him our hearts, souls, minds, bodies – but he also calls us to give him our day-to-day lives: finances, relationships, work. Psalm 51 tells us that when we surrender ourselves – including our sin and brokenness – we are then able to do God’s work through God’s forgiveness. It is precisely when God forgives us that we are able to truly teach transgressors God’s ways. It is precisely when God forgives us that we are able to sing of God’s deliverance. It is precisely when God forgives us that we are able to use our mouths to declare God’s praise.
 
So when we hear news like we did yesterday, and as we continue to try to wrap our minds around the hate and evil highlighted by a mass shooting, may we be a people who commit our full lives to God. Then, we can turn and teach others about God’s ways: about peace, mercy, grace, and love.

by Drew Hanson

Monday Message: You Are the Man!

Nathan said to David, “You are the man!   

2 Samuel 12:7

The past two Sundays, we have explored the lowest point in the life of King David.  He had taken his eyes off of God and moved down a path dictated by self-interest, lust, and power.  David’s story had become a story of sin.  

An interesting aspect of this story is that David seemed unaware that his was a story of sin.  Perhaps that is what happens to us when we live dictated by self-interest rather than communion with the Living God.  We set the rules around how we live rather than toward living the life of God given to us.  Nevertheless, David seemed either unaware or purposefully in denial of his story of sin.  

David was not fully aware of his sin story until Nathan spoke the words, “You are the man!”  In Nathan’s words, David was able to regain for a moment the perspective of a God-directed life.  David was able to see his life in the light of truth.  These words became a doorway back into Life!

Nearly three thousand years after Nathan and David, a Roman governor in the colony of Judea would conjure these words at the trial of Jesus.  He would present Jesus to the people that Jesus loved and say, “Here is the man!”  Again, these words would mark the doorway into life.  Again, these words would expose our darkness to the light of Truth.  Jesus would fully grasp Nathan’s words of condemnation over David, over me, and over you, and bear them to the cross.  The apostle Paul tells us that Jesus identified with our sins so that we might identify with his life. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

The bridge to life for us are the convicting words, “You are the man!”  Let us invite God to open our eyes to the places where he calls us to identify with Jesus.  Let them lead us to the confession: “I am a sinner, a person in trouble, a person who needs help, a human that needs God.”  And in that confession, we will find the light of Truth and the doorway into the God-directed life.

Gracious Jesus, we are so grateful that you do not condemn us.  Rather you have come to know us in our darkest hours.  We confess our tendency to hide and pretend.  Open our eyes to know your truth.  Speak to us and give us the courage to accept the grace that leads us into the God-directed life.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday Message: Faithfulness in the Complexity

9 David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?”  

2 Samuel 5:9

There are times when our simple faith seems inadequate in a complex world.  There are times when the truths that we have trusted do not match easily with the particulars of our lives.  There are times where our belief is stretched to the breaking point as we attempt to figure out how to live faithfully when faithfully is not easily defined.

How do we know when it is appropriate to stand for our convictions and when to turn the other cheek?  What do we do when faced with gray areas of business ethics?  How do we best love those who disagree with us?  

Very early in his reign as king over the combined tribes of Israel and Judah, King David happened upon such complexity.  Very little that he had memorized from the Scriptures could advise him on how to respond to an invasion by the Philistines.  Should he escape to live and fight another day as he had so many times before when pursued by King Saul?  Should he defend those in danger from the Philistine forces? 

David responded by inviting God into the intricacies he faced.  “What should I do?  What will you do through me?” he asked.  In this, he forged a path by leaning upon his relationship with God in the difficulties of his life. 

God is interested in the particulars of our lives.  He is passionately present to us.  He longs to partner with us in the midst of complexity in ways that will deepen us in him and will bless the world around us.  Like David, we must invite God into our complexities and into our particulars. 

It is precisely in these places that we discover Jesus with us.  We must slow down and listen as we wait for God to lead us in love and belief in the midst of the complexity of our world.

Jesus, you know the places that we are stalled out in our faith.  You know the places that we have been assuming rather than asking you.  We confess this moment by slowing down.  We lay before you the complexity of our lives.  Speak gently to us to free us to live fully in faith, to deepen our trust in you, and to honor you in all that we do.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday Message: Respect God's Annointed

He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’S anointed, to raise my hand against him; for he is the LORD’S anointed.”  - 1 Samuel 24:6

David and his men found themselves in a place where their enemy was powerless.  While actively targeting David’s life, King Saul had inadvertently made himself vulnerable.  To David's men, this seemed to be God providing a victory over his struggle with the king.  But David ended up seeing it quite differently.  

David was aware that God had anointed Saul to be king over Israel.  Thus, only God could remove this anointing.  David was aware that Saul was not just who Saul was, but who he was in God.  

We do not live in a theocracy where God literally anoints someone with oil, like he anointed Saul.  But we do live in a time where God has chosen to relate to each and every human.  In John 3:16, we learn that every single human being is encompassed in the reason for the cross.  In 1 Timothy 2:4, we learn that God desires all people to be moved into a saving relationship with Him.  We can surmise that every person we meet is important to God. Who are we to question the value of those that God loves?

David said, “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to the LORD’s anointed.”  What if we began to consider Jesus’ perspective on each person we encounter?  Our prejudices and judgments against people would need to be reconsidered in light of God’s relationship to them.  In a sense, they are God’s anointed.  The places that we find ourselves gridlocked in relationship by our defensive reactions and demonization of the other would need to be rethought.

Jesus, we know that we are beneficiaries of your mercy and grace.  Open our eyes that we might see the ways that your potential anointing flows upon those around us.  We ask you to show us, in particular, the love you have for those who are difficult in our lives.  Expand our hearts to love others as you love them.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday Message: Waiting in the Wilderness

Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Those who were with him numbered about four hundred. 

1 Samuel 22:2

Following Jesus in life insures a level of discontent with the world around us.  A person only places the fullness of their trust in God when they realize that the world is not really worthy of their faith. 

Few of us come to this conclusion on our own.  More often, God allows us to fall into seasons of discontent.  In these times, our finances, our relationships, our health, our inner feelings, or our circumstances painfully twist us into new perspective on life.  It is in these seasons that we must most fully face God. 

David found himself in such a place of discontent.  He had lost his place of honor in life and found himself abandoned in a cave in the wilderness.  Those who gathered around him are described by their distress, their debt, and their discontent.  He was the captain of the malcontents.

In the midst of the desert place, David refused to be led by his discontent.  Instead, he allowed the wilderness to shake from him his natural affections and reliance upon himself.  David allowed his place of desolation to become a place of waiting.  He said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and mother come to you, until I know what God will do for me.” (1 Samuel 22:3)

I know that life is often difficult and unfair.  I know that following Jesus has not won for us life without pain or difficulty.  But when we find ourselves in the wilderness, we must seek to turn our place of desolation into a place of waiting.  We can trust that “those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  (Is. 40:31)

Wait upon God to show you what God will do for you.

Dear Jesus, when difficult times come to us, we choose to look to you.  Fill us with hope in your salvation.  Fill us with the promise of your eternity.  We choose to wait until we know what God will do for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday Message: Friends in Jesus

17 Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him; for he loved him as he loved his own life.

1 Samuel 20:17

We talk often about relationship in the Christian Church.  Rightfully, most of our focus is upon relationship with the living God that is available to us in Christ Jesus.  More neglected is conversation about the relationships that take place between fellow Christians.

But God has not called us solely into relationship with Christ.  God calls us together in the church.  We are supposed to be together.  Solo Christianity does not work.

I know that this is not a popular sentiment these days.  It is argued that solo Christianity actually works better.  Other Christians are messy.  They aren’t as graceful as they are supposed to be toward us.  They aren’t as righteous as they are supposed to be when we look at them.  But it is precisely within this mess that God gifts us with one another.

Early on, Jonathan and David bonded together.  In 1 Samuel 18, we are told that “the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David” and that “Jonathan made a covenant with David.”  They were connected and recognized their connection before God.

Now this was easy to do early on when they had a lot in common.  They went to war together fighting the enemies of Israel.  They were in the royal court together being part of the reign of Jonathan’s father, King Saul.  But soon, the circumstances would not support their friendship.  At the time of our passage above, the political, social, and economic expediency of their friendship was gone.  The only thing that remained was their bond in God.

But it was this bond in God that kept them honest in their relationship with God in difficult times.  It was Jonathan’s love for David that allowed him to see the flaws in his father Saul.  It was David’s love for Jonathan that kept David faithful to moving in integrity toward the house of Saul when it would have been easier to manipulate and control.

We need each other for the same reasons.  We need to be bound to one another in our common love and faith in Jesus Christ.  And when that gets messy, those are the times when those relationships become that much more valuable.

Jesus, we confess that we often don’t like each other.  We confess that we often feel threatened by each other.  But we ask You to show us Your great love for each other.  Then bind us together in that love.  We invite You to use us to bless one another… even in the mess of human life.  We trust You, even when it is You in and through the mess of other people.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.