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BIBLE THOUGHTS ...

DAILY MEDITATIONS IN GOD'S WORD

October, 2011

 

 

Let's Study some Scripture together!

A new Verse every morning this month.

Maybe each of us can become better acquainted with Scripture. 

Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

LESSON 1, OCTOBER 5, 2011:

The Apostle John had been "raptured" to Heaven. Really he was still on the Isle of Patmos according to Revelation chapters four and five. But in spirit he is in Glory!

He has now seen the very Throne of God! And those around it, praising and worshiping our Heavenly Father. These include twenty-four elders. And based on Revelation 4:10: "The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne ...."

Cast their crowns, presumably given them at the Judgment Seat of Christ, rewards for faithful Christian service.

But they loved the Lord so much, they placed any such emblems of diligence, these crowns, before Him.  The One Who died to make us children of God!

Then, and here's the point of today's lesson, I saw something. There's a parallel to this event in the Old Testament.

It's found in Numbers chapter six.

When the ancient "Nazarites" gave themselves fully to God, the word meaning "dedicated or consecrated," they took upon themselves several rules, several ways of life. These vows of consecration lasted as long as the men chose to be Nazarites.

They could drink no wine or intoxicating liquids.

They could eat no grapes or anything else produced by the vine.

They could touch no dead body.

And then, they could not cut their hair. It must grown long! Probably a symbol of the "glory" of living such a life of love toward the Lord.

But then, and get this, when the vow was completed for that individual, he could go back to a normal Jewish lifestyle, including cutting his hair.

Here's what the Nazarite, or now nearly the ex-Nazarite must do when he finally cuts his hair. "And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings." Numbers 6:18

Look!

He cuts that hair, then gives it to God as well!

He burns it on the holy altar!

With an offering, blood sacrifice!

Do you see it?

It is a parallel act to casting one's crowns, worn around the head obviously, before the Lord Jesus!

Anything speaking of human ability, or human beauty, or human merit, is given to the Lord Who died to save us!

He is deserving of all our praise.

Of all our service.

Of all our attributes.

And when each of us sees Him, guaranteed, we will give Him all the worship and poise we have too!

"The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne."

"And the Nazarite shall shave his head and shall take the hair of his head and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings."

All our worth ... yielded to Jesus!

Gladly!

Indeed, He is worthy.

                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, OCTOBER 6, 2011:

This is the story of an unsuccessful son. A boy who had to be replaced by another, an "adopted" son, let's say.

The narrative is repeated again and again throughout the Bible.

God has a son, specially created named Adam. Here's Luke 3:38 for proof that my terminology is correct: "Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God."

But God's created son Adam failed!

So did Abraham have a son, Ishmael. He failed and God miraculously gave the Patriarch another boy, Isaac. He succeeded! Isaac, a picture of the coming Lord Jesus Christ!

Isaac also has a son, Esau, his favorite child! But Esau did not fulfill God's standard for an obedient and faithful young person. So the boy Jacob took over! He was a success, being a type of a Believer who can be transformed by the power of God, of the Holy Spirit.

Several of Jacob's sons failed. Reuben, the firstborn did. So did Simeon and Levi, the next two oldest sons. So God used Judah, the fourth-born! And He too is a forerunner, a picture of our Saviour!

On and on the list goes.

Eli had sons too. They were idolaters and adulterers. They failed their father. So Eli, at God's behest, adopted a son, Samuel! He became a great Prophet of God.

Saul's sons failed him as well. And God brought a David into the King's life. Natural sons replaced by a good-as-one's-own child! David, a great picture of Jesus!

Then of all things, David's sons failed him too. Even Solomon, the man who eventually sat on his father's throne!

What a pattern here.

One son fails, another takes over.

Or a son does not live up to expectations, sins and errs and rebels, and an adopted one assumes leadership and becomes the heir.

Now back to Adam. Yes, he failed.

This necessitated God making another Adam!

One Who would not fail.

A Son Who would defeat the Enemy, the Devil, the seed of the serpent!

And that second Adam was ... JESUS! Paul actually calls Jesus the "last" Adam in First Corinthians 15:45.

A second Adam?

A last Adam?

Yes, and what a Son He is!

Never failing!

Never disappointing!

And David's Son?

Jesus is That too!

Here's proof. First of Adam, then of David. All about Jesus ...

Luke 3:38, mentioned earlier, records: "Jesus Himself ... was the son of Adam, which was the son of God."

The Perfect Son!

Then Matthew 1:1 introduces our Lord this way: "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."

Goodness, look!

Even Isaac failed too.

Jesus, our Saviour!

God's Substitute Who died for our sins, vicariously!

Jesus, very God of very God ... yet human too, virgin born!

All this sonship business was so critically important because the right Seed of the woman had to come into the world.

To crush the serpent's head, the devil's head!

Jesus, God's Son!

And my Saviour!

Let's worship Him today.

               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, OCTOBER 7, 2011:

The priest Eli is our subject today.

He was a failure.

He had become lazy in his work, in serving God.

He tolerated sin, especially in the lives of his sons Hophni and Phinehas.

He lost his spiritual discernment. For example, when Hannah was praying in the House of the Lord, Eli saw her lips moving and thought she was drunk! "Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee." First Samuel 1:13-14

Furthermore Eli had become blind or nearly so. Not only physically, a fact that may be unavoidable, but spiritually too. See First Samuel 3:2 for proof. But in this case we again have a Bible hint that the man of God had lost his spiritual sense of sight too.

Furthermore when God called the young man Samuel, within earshot of the old priest, he failed to hear the Voice of the Lord! The Holy Spirit is at least suggesting that Eli, now old of course, has lost his ability to hear the vital communication he so badly need, to hear God speak, in the daily and weekly chores of his ministry!

Not only that, and today's lesson is not a commentary on anyone's physical state, Eli had become very "heavy" according to First Samuel 4:18. "And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years." The noun for "heavy" is "kabad," a close relative to the Hebrew word for "glory," spelled "kabod." The insinuation is that Eli had taken the "glory" of God and assumed it for "himself!" He was allowing his two sons to steal the offerings from the tabernacle and eat it themselves too, literally giving permission for God's Glory to be selfishly and sinfully appropriated!

A portrait of a failed leader.

A picture of a bad preacher, one who had grown cold and indifferent in his work. Complacent to the core!

I wrote these words this Friday morning to encourage (???) some church member or preacher or Sunday School teacher who is becoming weary in his or her work.

Do not let up serving the Lord!

Do not allow indifference to creep into your life!

Don't start tolerating known sin or losing your spiritual eyesight or keen hearing of God's Voice. He speaks today through His Word and through the Holy Spirit, as we all know.

Stay sharp in spiritual discernment!

Fight the good fight of faith!

And to those of you who have a preacher, a pastor, who is very unlike Eli, who had stayed true to God, let him know what a blessing he is!

Thank God for him too.

Oh, how we need leaders today who are very much not like Eli.

But back to First Samuel for a second, as soon as Eli died, under the judgment of God seemingly, our Lord had a new leader ready to serve!

Samuel!

And for the most part Samuel was what Eli was not, faithful.

Remember what Paul wrote much later, "It is required in servant that we be found faithful!" See First Corinthians 4:2 for the exact words.

"Help us, Lord, we pray, to serve Thee well."

                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, OCTOBER 8, 2011:

Today a recounting of a beautiful little Story from the Book of First Samuel. About the Ark of the Covenant, the Jewish Symbol of the very Presence of Almighty God.

The Jews, because of rampant sin in their lives as a nation, were being harassed by an enemy, the Philistines.

They should, God's people the Israelites, have been captured and deported by those sinful Gentiles. As a result of their unconfessed and ever-growing. But it did not happen that way. All I can figure is because of the good amazing Grace of God.

Let's notice what did occur.

Instead of the Jews being "taken," the Ark was seized!

God Himself, typologically or symbolically, Jesus Himself went into the heart of enemy territory, into Philistia, instead of His people having to go there!

It's a picture of our dear Saviour coming into the world, into sinful creation, into spiritual Philistia, to fight our battles for us, the sin battle that is!

God so loved us He volunteered to take our place and fight the Devil for our soul salvation!

What did the enemy do to that Ark, to that precious Type of God?

They subjected him to their god Dagon!

He was placed in Dagon's "house" to be mocked and belittled!

"And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon." First Samuel 5:1-2

This is a Picture of Jesus on the Cross, being subjected to the taunts of the world and the ire of Satan, the Dagon of our day!

But Guess what?

Almighty God overcame the powerless Dagon!

"And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him." First Samuel 5:3-4

Jesus defeated Satan at Calvary, crushed his head and broke his hands! Left him  with nothing but a stump!

By the third day the Philistines had had enough! They wanted the God of the Israelites "out" of there! "And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the LORD? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place." First Samuel 6:2

And sure enough, on the third day Jesus rose again! Having defeated death, hell and the grave! He left behind the broken Dagon, an emaciated Satan!

Also when the Philistines sent the Ark back home, they loaded it down with booty, symbols of the victory it had accomplished. The Ark returned home with more than it had when it went to enemy territory! "And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty." First Samuel 6:3

Jesus ascended Home too, back to His Father's Presence. With much MORE than He had when came to earth!

He ascended with a human body, a God-man, perfectly so!

He ascended bringing with him all the old Testament saints too, who had been in paradise so long. Jesus led "captivity captive."

It's a beautiful work picture of what our Lord did to the enemy because he loved us so!

From, of all places, a Book of history, First Samuel!

What a Bible!

What a God!

What a Saviour!

Worship Him today.

                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, OCTOBER 9, 2011:

Here's a thought about the poor quality of leadership that infested Israel during the period of the Judges and early monarchy.

It seems that most of their leaders "took" from the people, seldom "giving" anything back!

Samuel's sons certainly did, even "taking" the meat of the sacrifices God's people offered Jehovah in worship! "Now the name of Samuel's firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment." First Samuel 8:2-3

Then came Saul, their first real King. He "took" a lot too, God having warned the Israelites about such things. "And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants." First Samuel 8:10-17

Wow!

Then even good King David had a lapse and "took" a man's wife. Then "took" a man's life, among other thing!

Again, poor and selfish and short-sighted leadership!

But one day God's Son came to earth!

Virgin Born!

Jesus is His Name.

And He was not a "taker" but a Giver!

He even gave His Life that sinners might be saved!

Here's today's Verse. Note the verb "gave" please. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Praise the Lord!

                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, OCTOBER 10, 2011:

Here's a thought, strait from the Old Testament Book of Job. God, in His single great majestic Speech to Job, mentions much of His Creation. Especially the animals.

In one stretch of this great theophany, ten members of the animal kingdom are listed.

Let's listen to the Lord: "Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions, when they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait? Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat. Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth? or canst thou mark when the hinds do calve? Canst thou number the months that they fulfil? or knowest thou the time when they bring forth? They bow themselves, they bring forth their young ones, they cast out their sorrows. Their young ones are in good liking, they grow up with corn; they go forth, and return not unto them. Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass? Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwellings. He scorneth the multitude of the city, neither regardeth he the crying of the driver. The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing. Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee? Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to him? Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn? Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust, And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain without fear; because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding. What time she lifteth up herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider. Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting. Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south? Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place. From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she."

Count them, ten!

Why these ten?

While no one knows the exact and full answer to that question, I will promise you this. There's a reason, a good one, a Divine One!

Study these animals.

I am serious.

Preacher, teacher, Bible student, interested reader, you will discover that each group has specific inherent traits depicting the character of God!

They reflect their Creator!

They bring Glory to him!

They illustrate the great fact of creation.

This is Job 12:7-8 in action! "But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee."

What a Bible we have to study!

                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, OCTOBER 11, 2011:

I learned some of these facts last week. Debbie and I discussed them at length. They are worthy of sharing with you.

"Saul of Tarsus," that what he was called in Acts 9:11, the first time his city in named in the Bible.

But four other times Tarsus surfaces in the Bible, the New Testament specifically. Well truly, in the Book of Acts alone!

God often calls men from the farm to serve His Name. Amos was as "country" as a man could be. So was Elisha, plowing with a yoke of oxen as God laid the mantel of prophecy upon his young shoulders.

But not Paul. He is a city man, an urbanite, born and raised in the metropolis of Tarsus in present day Turkey, south central Turkey.

Today's key verse is Acts 21:39 where Paul is speaking to a mob, one that had just tried to kill him!

The great Apostle identifies himself. He relates, among other things of course: "He said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people."

No "mean" city!

The Greek here is "asemos." It means "not marked." Or more literally "insignificant." Without definite signs and symbols of superiority!

Tarsus is "on the map!"

It's not "irrelevant!"

Bragging a bit on his hometown!

Saul now called Paul!

Yes, ironically via God's amazing Grace this Saul of Tarsus became the saved or born-again Paul the Preacher! His new name "Paul" means "little." And his city's name simply means "a little basket!" Actually "a flat basket!" Humble backgrounds looks like!

The area near ancient Tarsus is now a city of about 60,000 inhabitants in, as earlier indicated, the Nation of Turkey.

In the New Testament God seems to recognize cities by the saints of God who live or lived there. It was "Lazarus and Mary and Martha" of "Bethany" for example! Or Or Simon of "Cyrene." Even Jesus' enemies, Judah "Iscariot."

Now it's Paul of "Tarsus."

People who lived there or visited there through history: Alexander the Great, Cicero, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, so Cleopatra of course, and Saul's Grandparents and then his Mom and Dad!

Tarsus became a great education center, trained as man ancient world teachers that perhaps any other city, containing a powerful University of its day, then world renown.

And this too. It's a Roman city, its inhabitants being citizens of the Empire. It became one of the most influential cities in the world!

And there God had a jewel in the making!

God saves sinners.

Even exquisite ones!

By the way, thank God for your city today.

Your upbringing.

He has been good to us all.

                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, OCTOBER 12, 2011:

Yesterday we studied Saul of the New Testament. Now called Paul the Apostle. Today I'd like us to focus on the Old Testament Saul.

All this month we're analyzing different Bible texts or paragraphs or verses, a varied approach to Bible Study. Not good all the time probably, but occasionally an excellent idea. I am still a verse-by-verse man at heart!

Saul, son of Kish, first King of Israel, a riddle of a man for sure!

Basic question, nearly everyone has wondered, "Was he saved?"

Was Saul a believer in the Messiah?

Good friends debate this issue, sometimes strongly!

Was Saul ever born again?

The answer, I believe Scripture reveals, is yes.

Twice we are told God made him a "new man," or that's the tone of the verses.

Sounds like "new creature" territory to me!

God to Israel's future Leader, to this Saul: "And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man." First Samuel 10:6

I've underlined the germane clause.

The phrase "another man" in Hebrew is spelled "acher iysh." It can be rendered a "strange man." Indeed the child of God is that, in the eyes of this sinful world anyway!

Then later in First Samuel these words: "And it was so, that when Saul had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day." First Samuel 10:9

This time it's "another heart!" Now "acher leb," a change in one's "innermost" being, so is "leb" defined.

Saul was born-again I believe.

Yes he became a backslider too.

But still went to "Heaven" when he died. Old Testament "Heaven" I guess we should say.

And here's final proof of that, absolutely so. We must now visit the "Witch of Endor" chapter. When that old lady, that hag, had called up Samuel to talk to the soon-to-die Saul, the godly Prophet promised the King: "And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David. Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines." First Samuel 28:15-19

Now read all this paragraph, the preceding one. Don't skip it. And notice what I have underlined.

Saul, tomorrow you will die.

And your soul and spirit will "be with me," so said Samuel the man of God!

Samuel had died some time earlier and was in Heaven, in Paradise!

That's where Saul was going too.

Paradise!

Yes, He knew the Lord.

And he will be in Glory when we get there, all of us gathered around the splendorous throne of God!

Isn't Grace an amazing thing?

God forgives!

Sinners can be washed from their sin.

And so can saints!

Hallelujah.

                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9, OCTOBER 13, 2011:

The Bible scene we're about to survey is classic, David and his battle with Goliath the Philistine giant.

But today I'd like to view it as a Type, a symbol, an indicator of a deeper truth. Let's see it as a picture of Christ confronting the old Devil himself, Satan.

First Samuel chapter seventeen will be our text of course. It's been studied by multitudes through the years.

Yet a few points I'd never seen surfaced the other day, under the tutelage of a good Bible teacher.

The noun used in verse five of Goliath's armour is significant! "And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass."

The underlined word or term is spelled "qaqeseth" and means literally "scales!" That's right, scales! Like a serpent has, a snake! Goliath here is picturing the devil! The snake in the Garden of Eden!

And just what is Goliath saying? He is defying the things of God! Praising Dagon and belittling Jehovah!  That's the satan's line to this very day! This rebel must be overcome!

We also learn that David is ready to fight Goliath because he had earlier killed a lion and a bear, defending his sheep! Jesus too could "take on" the devil at Calvary because He had already overcome him time and time again, "lion and bear" style. In our Lord's earlier life, in His thirty-three years on earth since the Virgin Birth. For example, the forty-day temptation, "Get thee hence, Satan."

And then the great historic battle started, the First Samuel confrontation. David with a few stones, Goliath with a sword. But David overcame. How? Aerially, through the atmosphere. It was a spiritual thing, the champion of Philistia was defeated "through" the air! And the devil Paul says is the "prince of the power of the air!" Jesus conquered Satan on the devil's turf! On earth, on a cross! Suspended in the air, in the heavens!

And what part of Goliath was wounded, unto death even?

The head!

"And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth."

Wow!

Genesis 3:14 comes to mind, doesn't it, about the head of the enemy? "And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

Plus David did this, cut off Goliath's head!  "David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled." First Samuel 17:51

A headless giant!

And some day a headless Devil!

David is playing the Jesus Role allright!

Remember this too. Earlier in First Samuel the Ark of the Covenant, God's very Presence, had knocked off the head of Dagon, god of the Philistines!

Jesus, the great head Hunter has become Jesus our loving Saviour!

Praise His Name!

This as well. Saul just could not fight Goliath, too cowardly was he by now. He had lost his boldness, the King had. Yet Saul was a Benjamite, from that tribe. And they were known for their skill with the sling! See Judges 20:15-16 for proof.

Yet David excelled where Saul was supposed to have been expert! With a sling and a stone!

David, the surprise conqueror!

Jesus the unexpected Deliverer, at least according to Isaiah chapter fifty-three.

Note this too. Goliath was ready for close-up, hand-to-hand combat!

But David was geared for long range battle!

Jesus can still defeat wickedness from afar!

At the Right Hand of God now He sits, far away, yet still defeating the enemy for us every single day!

Thank You, Lord.

A new way of viewing the David and Goliath situation, for sure.

But any way it's seen, God wins.

                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10, OCTOBER 14, 2001:

The lesson today is encouraging, I think. And it's so typical of our great God. A God who "cares" for His own!

Saul has been chasing David, as if the son of Jesse were a common criminal. The battle has been long and hard on the young shepherd, the brave killer of Goliath.

Yet in the midst of the ordeal, in the middle of the battle, God sent David some rest, some peace, some quiet.

And as soon as this temporary little time of tranquility had passed, Saul was on David's trail again!

God, it appears, gave His servant a respite, a brief interlude of "shalom."

And that time of relaxation was?

Engedi!

It literally was an oasis in the desert!

Let's examine this idea more carefully.

Watch the verses, the sequence, of our Biblical text.

Chasing David, trying to kill him. "And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them." Taken from First Samuel 23:26.

Then God intervenes!"

"And David went up from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at Engedi." This is First Samuel 23:29, a resort provided by God Himself!

Time for rebuilding and restitution!

And yet as soon as Engedi had done its powerful work, ministering repose to David, here comes Saul again!

See. "And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi. Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats." First Samuel 24:1-2, hunted again.

Hardship and testing.

Then an oasis in the midst of the difficulties.

But with more battles to follow!

A pattern of the Christian life no doubt!

"Engedi" means "fountain," a place of bubbling running water! A place of life and refreshment!

In the desert of spiritual warfare!

Palm trees!

Fellowship!

Sweet water!

Rest at night!

Peace in the midst of storm!

God surely loved and cared for David, a man after the Lord's Own Heart!

But wait a minute.

We're not totally left out of this equation!

God still has an occasional Engedi available!

He still refreshes and revives His people!

It might be a "token" for good. That expression is taken from Psalm 86:17, "Lord, show me as token for good."

It might be a "break" in the middle of stress. So that we will not become "weary in well doing." Galatians 6:9

It might be a "revival" deep down in our souls, Psalm 85:6 style. "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?"

Oh, yes!

Thank God for the little "breaks" He sends us occasionally.

If you're in the battle this morning, stressed beyond measure, there's a Engedi coming your way!

If you're enjoying a peaceful time of revival now, no doubt the battles will return. But you will face them with new strength!

Engedi produced strength.

Wow!

The Ways of God!

Including His Engedi times!

How wonderful He is!

                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 11, OCTOBER 15, 2011:

This incident today from First Samuel chapter thirty is interesting, instructive too. David had been away fighting the Philistines. He returned to his home base, the city of Ziklag, only to find it raided and demolished. Plus ... David's family and the families of all his men had been kidnapped! By a wild bunch of Amalekites, heathen to the core and deadly enemies of Israel for generations!

Well, off David goes with his soldiers, seeking justice at least, maybe some revenge as well. More war is looming!

Making a long story shorter, they did catch the enemy and rescued their wives and children and possessions. They slew the Amalekites as well, nearly all of them.

But here's the anomaly, the unusual thing. Some of David's soldiers were so weak from fighting that they could not complete the battle. They had to remain at a resting place half way through the journey, the pursuit. "So David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred men abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor." First Samuel 30:10, a third of his army!

So far everything is fine.

But when it was time to share the spoils of the war, including the prizes taken from the dead enemy soldiers, David set a new precedent. Usually the sickly crowd would have been either entirely ignored or only given a bare minimum.

But David shared just as much booty with the men who could not finish the conflict as he did with the men who finished valiantly!

It was a fifty-fifty distribution!

After all, these weak men did not forsake the army!

They stayed by the baggage, the "stuff." that was left behind.

David ruled: "But as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike." First Samuel 30:24, where "stuff" means "articles, vessels, even their armour!"

David hereby set a new statute in Israel. He was thus a lawmaker as well as a future King, already anointed in fact. He's acting like a Moses, a greater than Moses, now. With God's approval apparently!

The lesson, the point of all this?

God rewards faithfulness!

Some of the Lord's children are in the heat of the battle!

Pastors, evangelists, missionaries, deacons, Sunday school teachers, other Church workers. Of course they will be honored for their good works. Unselfishly giving to the Saviour!

But others, who are not "seen" week after week, the "quieter" Christians, will also be rewarded by Jesus! It appears just as much too as those in the focus of attention!

Why?

Because though they did not "shine" like the others, they remained faithful!

They loved the Lord just as much!

Folks, I believe this.

God might reward the prayerful financial supporter of a missionary just as much as He rewards the preacher himself.

That's the "staying by the stuff" principle!

To those of you who may feel a bit inferior when compared to the "greats" in the Lord's work, please don't do that!

You are just as significant as the front-line people.

And the Judgment Seat of Christ will prove it!

Just keep staying by the stuff!

And to you active warriors, keep on fighting for Jesus too!

He is the Rewarder of us all!

Truth be told, He Himself is the Reward!

Wow!

                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 12, OCTOBER 16, 2011:

The lesson today focuses on the structure of an Old Testament Book of Scripture. That's First Samuel, full of history in its thirty-one chapters. God written too, divinely inspired, without error!

I want to show you one of the traits of Holy Spirit authorship. One of His "literary" leanings.

He often, very often, uses a single theme to both begin and end a body of Scripture. It may be a paragraph, a whole chapter, and sometimes a whole Book!

This technique is not unknown in secular writing of course. They often "mimic" the good writing of the Bible.

They call it "inclusio."

I sometimes call it "bookends" or "brackets," again a simple opening and closing of a text with identical thoughts or words.

Such balance in any writing shows forethought and skill and wisdom at work. All the more so in the Bible, God's Holy Word.

Now for our First Samuel example.

The Book both begins and ends with a death. The death of a leader. Eli the priest dies early on and Saul the king dies at the end. Their tragic deaths are in ways similar too.

But now let me show you the Bible accounts in involved:

Israel was at war with Philistia. The Ark of the Covenant, the very Symbol of the Presence of God, was captured. And as Eli heard the bad news. "And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that Eli fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years." First Samuel 4:18, occurring very early in a thirty-one chapter history!

 Then Saul, in losing a war with these same Philistines, met his end, his earthly end. "And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. So Saul died." First Samuel 31:3-6, the last chapter of the book.

See it?

The beginning ... and the end.

Additionally as I said, these "marker" deaths match in ways.

Both happen in times of declension and backsliding and apostasy in Israel, God's people having turned against Him.

Both happen under God's Hand of judgment.

Both men who died did so along with their sons!

Proof: "And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain." First Samuel 4:11

And: "So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together." First Samuel 31:6

Eli died by "falling" off his chair!

Saul died by "falling" on his own sword, instead of being slain by a heathen Philistine, a disgrace for an ancient King.

What is God teaching here?

At least this: "Be sure your sin will find you out." Numbers 32:23

But there's a bit of brightness too!

Out of all this debris, this chaos, God brings young David, His future King!

A man after God's Own Heart!

David, a Type of the coming Lord Jesus Christ!

So now we have ... Life after death!

Glory after shame!

Purpose after disorder!

A Book of Doom, First Samuel, yet out of it flows great Hope and Optimism!

Jesus Christ is after all, the Son of David! The royal "butterfly" that arose out of the dead "cocoon" of First Samuel.

Wow!

Only God can do this.

Of course if you're saved, He brought you out of death into life too!

Born again!

                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 13, OCTOBER 17, 2010:

The Philistines had been David's enemies for years. Enemies of all Israel really, treacherous and ungodly foes.

Today we notice one battle, one skirmish, with the heathen people of Gath and Ashdod and Gaza and Ekron, again with these Philistines.

"And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And when David enquired of the LORD, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines. And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer." Second Samuel 5:22-25

Notice they are attacking David, God's man.

David needs and gets heavenly advice from the Lord God.

Battle is at hand.

God responds: "Do not advance on them frontally."

"Fetch a compass," in other words "Circle around behind them." That's what "sabab" means, the Hebrew verb used here, "go around."

God instructed David and his men circumnavigate that wicked army and then just to wait by a grove of mulberry trees. That's spelled "baka" in Hebrew, some type of tree in the balsam family. Particularly known for dripping a lot of sap when it is cut!

Bible teachers used to say that mulberry trees symbolized brokenness, humility and contriteness of heart. If so, God is about to give a great victory to a bunch of broken men, lowly and meek of spirit! Pride is certainly not conducive to God's help and power. He resists it!

But to the main point of today's lesson: David is to wait there, by those trees. Even though the enemy is at hand, apparently prepared to attack!

Wait for what?

God's timing.

God's will.

Don't move until God indicates it's all right.

"And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself ...."

When the breeze stirs the tops of the trees!

What's this wind all about?

It is the Holy Spirit of God!

The God Who came down in Acts chapter two at Pentecost as the "Sound" of a Rushing Mighty Wind!

Another theological writer says that this sound is also indicative of the arrival of a host of angels! God is the "Lord of Hosts" we know. And that noun "hosts" does mean "armies." He tells us so hundreds of times in the Old Testament.

The God of the armies of Heaven precisely.

The Heavenly Hosts, the armies of Glory!

Innumerable angels!

And when they arrive, led by the General, the Holy Spirit ... they will go before David and his few men!

They will lead the attack!

And ... God promised and performed: "... For then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines."

Next: "And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer."

Victory!

But not alone!

Only with the Lord's Spirit!

Only with his angelic Help!

Anyone heard any "goings" lately? That Hebrew word literally means "marching!" It's spelled "tzseadah," simply meaning "taking steps, keeping pace!"

Is the Holy Spirit a Reality in our lives?

He should be!

Have you experienced Him recently?

Do you ever sense His Presence?

Are He and you in communion daily?

If so, go out and do something great for the Lord!

"Oh God, give us ears to listen!"

                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 14, OCTOBER 18, 2011:

The great Old Testament character David was "anointed" King three times. Three times, quite dramatic!

Here they are in order. Follow the reasoning here please. I'm leading up to something important.

First David was anointed as King of the Nation of Israel, even while Saul was still occupying the Throne! A dangerous move indeed. But this was after Saul had sinned so egregiously against God that judgment came his way. The judgment being that his Kingdom was to be "torn" from him! Samuel the great Prophet-Priest upon God's specific direction sought the house of Jesse, and son by son discerned the new King. It was David, the youngest of the boys! We read from First Samuel chapter sixteen. "And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons." And next ... "And they sent, and brought David in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah." Yes, David has been anointed!

The first time anyway!

Next we go to Second Samuel chapter four. There the men of Judah, though only two tribes among God's people the Jews, anoint David again, but just as their leader. The Scriptural record is succinct: "And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah." This was the second time!

For just over seven years David reigned in this capacity, a limited territory but King nonetheless, King of Judah.

But to completely fulfill God's Word and make David monarch over all the Land, over all Israel, a third anointing is upcoming. So Second Samuel chapter five says this: "So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel." Thereafter David reigns for thirty-three more years, a total of forty years in all. And what a King he was! "A man after God's Own Heart" too!

David, anointed three different times.

And this is David a clear Type of Jesus Christ!

And what about Jesus?

Watch this. It's just a thought but I think quite valid. Jesus too has enjoyed multiple anointings of the Holy Spirit! He is the "greater" than David of course!

To begin with Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit when still in the womb! Well, "overshadowed" is the Word the Scriptures used. "Episkiazo" just means to "envelop" or surround, "to cast a shadow upon" something. The Holy Spirit all over Jesus prenatally!

Then when a Lad, at age twelve or so. "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." Luke 2:52, where "wisdom" is a code word for the Holy Spirit! Add Luke 2:40 here: "And the Child grew, and waxed strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him."

Then when baptized, Jesus and the Holy Spirit enjoyed a fresh encounter, though they undoubtedly were in perfect communion every second of every day. "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and John the Baptist saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him." Matthew 3:16

When tempted, overcoming the devil victoriously, Jesus is again anointed by the Spirit. After returning from the wilderness Luke tells this: "And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about." Luke 4:14

Jesus even died in the power of the Spirit, anointed of Him. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Hebrews 9:14

Jesus was born to be King too, an anointed King, a fact mentioned at the very first of His perfect Life. "Where is He that is born King of the Jews?" So asked the venerable Wise Men in Matthew 2:2.

Pilate asked Him if He were King at the Trial as well. From John chapter eighteen, this dialogue: "Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth." John 18:37, He's King, all right! He just said so.

The sign over His Head as He died proclaimed the fact publically, a placard Pilate would not remove: "King of the Jews!" John 19:19 word for word: "And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS."

And some day, riding a white horse from Heaven to earth, Jesus will be finally and fully installed, anointed a King! Here's the eyewitness account John left us: "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." Revelation 19:11-16

Multiple times, anointed by the Holy Spirit!

And yes, anointed to be King!

Jesus our Lord!

In closing here's my whole point of writing all this. The Holy Spirit will need to "fill" us again and again too. To "anoint" us, to "control" us, to "direct" us day by day, repeatedly!

Read the Book of Acts carefully.

The Disciples, those dedicated followers of Jesus, were filled with the Holy Spirit in chapter after chapter, numerous fillings!

Lots of anointings!

"Oh Holy Spirit, empower and fill us and anoint us again today we pray. In Jesus' sweet Name we ask and beg it, Amen."

Multiple touches from God!

One salvation experience; but many, many encounters with God and His Spirit in sweet fellowship and revival and renewal!

The Psalmist has quite beautifully expressed it, today's truth: "I shall be anointed with fresh oil." Psalm 92:10

Fresh oil, the ever exhilarating Breath of the Holy Spirit of God!

Amen.

                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 15, OCTOBER 19, 2011:

The Gospel of John, what a jewel it is Biblically!

I was studying those four opening Books of the New Testament as Debbie and I were driving to Mississippi a couple of days ago.

And I saw something that is thrilling!

That fourth Gospel, John, is organized much like the Tabernacle of Israel. It's arranged that way, laid out in that fashion. It's a pattern of worship, of approaching Almighty God!

Let me tell you about it.

The Tabernacle was situated, at God's direction, so that the first piece of furniture any approaching Jew would encounter was the brazen altar, where animals were slain in sacrifice. Then came the laver. Next, in the Holy Place itself, was the Table of Bread then the Golden Lampstand. And next to the curtain, to the very Holy of Holies, sat the golden altar of incense. And finally, where no man could go under threat of death, was the precious Ark of the Covenant.

Here we go with John's paradigm.

The Gospel's opening chapter is parallel to the brazen altar. Listen to the Evangelist, to the Baptist, as he introduces Jesus: "Behold the Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:19, lambs were killed by the millions on that brass altar!

Next, in chapters two through five, there is an obvious emphasis on water! Like the laver! Nicodemus learned that a man is born again through water and the Spirit, meaning through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit! In John four there's a woman at a "well," water again, the laver! In John five a man is beside a pool and is healed by Jesus!

Next John takes us to the Candlestick, the Lampstand. Jesus talks about His being the Light of the world! That's in chapter eight. And in chapter nine He heals a man born blind, the man sees the "light" for the very first time! Even in John eleven where Lazarus is raised from the dead, light is mentioned twice!

But what about the altar of incense, the golden altar which obviously indicates prayer? John, only John of the Gospel writers, shares with us Jesus' longest prayer on record. All of chapter seventeen, Jesus pleading with his Father for the welfare of His children! What a sweet smelling fragrance that must have been to the Father, what pleasure!

Then finally, the goal of it all: the Holy of Holies, the Ark of the Covenant! At Jesus' Resurrection, in John twenty, we see a virtual picture of that grand Ark, that place of atonement! The empty tomb! On the slab where Jesus' dead Body rested was no doubt traces of blood, His Blood! On each side of that Blood sat an angel! A veritable model of the Ark, which also was spotted with sprinkled blood! The very blood of the annual Day of Atonement sacrifice!

And Mary Magdalene was blessed to see this sight: "But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre. And she seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain." John 20:11-12, clearly the very Proof of our living Saviour, our Redeemer's Death and Life ... for our salvation!

It's there, obviously.

The Tabernacle!

Illustrated in the Gospel of John!

Thank You, Lord, for showing us such amazing things!

                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 16, OCTOBER 20, 2011:

David was moving the Ark of the Covenant, the most sacred piece of furniture Israel possessed, back from the land of the enemy Philistines to the capital city of Jerusalem.

But a man named Uzzah died during the trip, while transporting the Ark from heathen country to the city of God.

Here's the Bible account: "And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. And when they came to Nachon's threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzzah." Second Samuel 6:3-8

True, there are some questions concerning Uzzah's death.

Was it unduly harsh?

Was he not merely trying to serve God?

We will not solve this problem today, not in our short space and time in a single Bible study lesson.

But here is one reason I believe God judged this situation so quickly and so decisively and so sternly.

The only time I can find the Ark of the Lord transported by "cart," like David and his crowd were doing here, was when the Philistines sent it back home to Israel, years before! You can consult First Samuel chapter six for proof.

God never suggested using a cart to move such a valuable piece of holy furniture. This Ark represented the Very Presence of Jehovah God!

On the contrary, the Ark was properly to be carried on the shoulders of a group of godly Levites. Having placed special poles or "staves" through loops in the corners of the Ark. Again, these divinely appointed men were to carefully and reverently tote the Ark on their shoulders with those "staves." The Ark was never to be touched by human hands. See First Chronicles chapter seven, verse nine for an example.

Why did God get so upset at this "cart" business?

BECAUSE THE LORD'S PEOPLE, THE ISRAELITES, WERE DOING GOD'S WORK NOT ACCORDING TO HIS PLAN ... BUT FOLLOWING THE WORLD'S METHODS!

Doing God's bidding based on the policies of the heathen!

That apparently disturbs God Almighty!

I don't mean to upset anyone today. But there's still a lot of this happening in our land, in our Churches too!

We're too often using the world's psychology, the world's sociology, the world's values, the world's priorities ... while attempting to reach lost souls!

While trying to spread the Word of God!

Folks, let's get back to doing God's things God's Way!

                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 17, OCTOBER 21, 2011:

The Ark of the Covenant, the Old Testament Presence of the Lord God Almighty, had rested for months in the house of  man named Obededom. This man is first mentioned in Second Samuel 6:10 and is  called a "Gittite," a citizen of Gath. One of the Philistine cities for sure. The whole name means "servant of edom," a strange name for a lover of the Ark of God! Maybe he is an illustration of the I once-was-lost but now-am-found type of Believer.

Anyway the presence of the Ark brough blessing to the house of Obededom! "And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obededom, and all his household." Wow, Second Samuel 6:11.

Now watch what happens!

Apparently the Lord's abundant kindnesses being poured out of the house of this likely Gentile "provoked" David to make a fresh attempt to bring the Ark to Jerusalem!

Might I say David was "provoked to jealousy," in a good sense, to honor God's Ark of the Covenant!

God blessed this unknown person so much ... because he housed the Ark reverently ... that David simply "craved" some of those blessings!

"Provoked to jealousy!"

"I want God's best too!" ... so thinks the man of God, David.

I checked that clause elsewhere in the Bible.

God Himself can be "provoked to jealousy!" Against sin, against the backsliding Israelites! "They, the Jews, provoked the Lord to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they Him to anger." Deuteronomy 32:16

Yes, God is righteously jealous of His people. "And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked Him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done." First Kings 14:11

But again in a good way, David is provoked to jealousy over God's goodness!

Here it is: "And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness." Second Samuel 6:12

Amazing!

Paul participates in this "jealousy" business too! "Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?" First Corinthians 10:22, God's jealously just has to be for good, not evil. God cannot sin.

Then comes James, talking about the holy Spirit. "Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The Spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?" James 4:5

The Holy Spirit can be "jealous" too!

Jealous that we be fully dedicated to God!

Jealous on the Lord's behalf ... that we lean not toward anything or anyone who might belittle our Saviour!

"Provoked to jealousy" ... to better receive God's blessings!

Maybe even a "hint" of the thought Paul presented in Hebrews 10:24 is here too. "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works."

 Go out today and "provoke" someone to more fully live for Jesus!

This is one lesson we all need to apply!

                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

One more quick thought about Paul and "jealousy." He as a Pastor was properly jealous over his people, the Corinthians. He had led them to their Bridegroom, our Saviour, and wanted them to be faithful and true! Not chasing other lovers, other gods! "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Second Corinthians 12:11 where the Apostle was "provoked unto jealousy" in the very best of senses!

Does anyone here today "covet" the blessings of God? That's the idea, the gist, of this whole lesson. This whole text from the life of David.

 

 

LESSON 18, OCTOBER 22, 2011:

I'm not sure I have the answer to this question. The full explanation to the conundrum I'm about to propose. It's taken from the lives of the first two Kings of Israel, Saul and David.

Briefly, here it is. And surely the lesson somehow magnifies the awesome, inexplicable Grace of God.

Saul sinned. Several times in fact. Sinned as a King, as the leader of the land of Israel. Yes, Saul sinned ... and God took the Kingdom from him! "And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou." First Samuel 15:28

Also David sinned! In fact he sinned more grievously than Saul. And God did not take the Kingdom from him. In fact, in many ways God blessed David all the more abundantly!

God killed Saul!

Yet God allowed David to live, though he had committed two capital crimes according to Mosaic law, adultery and murder! He could have been stoned to death.

Why?

Why Saul and not David?

It cannot be the fact that God is a Respecter of persons, for He is not! Peter in Acts 10: 34 clearly says that.

On with our lesson. First of all let's notice what did happen to David as a result of his best-known sins. He buried four of his sons! The little baby boy Bathsheba bore him died, the child of adultery. Later David's son Amnon was murdered by a half-brother, another offspring of the King obviously. And then David's favorite boy in some ways, Absalom, was killed as he tried to lead a rebellion against his own Dad. Then finally another child, grown Adonijah was killed too. Killed as a rebel nonetheless!

Truly like the Lord said through the Prophet Nathan, the "sword" never departed from David's house!

Even as Christians today we face consequences for our sins, here on earth anyway. Even the forgiven ones, the confessed sins! They are under the Blood of Jesus of course ... but still can indirectly "hurt" us again and again. We do reap what we sow!

But David did this too. He repented of his wrongdoings! He grieved over his sins. Not at first, months later truly ... but still he sorrowed over his iniquities!

We can actually listen to David confess to his Lord. He wrote a Psalm about the whole process. It's the great fifty-first Psalm.

"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions." What a start! "Erase" my sins, "rub out" the record of my failures!

But David adds more: "Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin." He wants to be thorough here." Scrub me clean like a cleaning lady does, "stomping" me stainless by the creek, with roaring waters tumbling over me as necessary!

He can't get his sins off his mind now, finally, after he has repented! "For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me."

David has even come to the place that God's harsh judgment on his sins is all right! God acted correctly in taking those four boys! And anything else He chooses to do too! "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." God's has judged correctly, not too roughly! This is real sorrow for sin! "I deserved all God did to me."

By now the King feels better. But still that "gnawing" grief over his sins creeps back, again and again apparently. He begs again: "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." It's okay to ask forgiveness repeatedly, or it was so with David! Probably with all of us Believers then!

Yes, David repented and confessed and forsook his sins, those blatant sins!

And Saul?

Well, he never seemed to grieve that deeply over anything wrong he had done.

Now it is true that Saul did ask forgiveness a time or two. "And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord." First Samuel 15:24 But he never showed the remorse and brokenness David did. He certainly wrote no Psalm of repentance.

And this, I believe, must have been the difference between the two Kings!

One never repented.

The other did.

Plus, David did lose his Kingdom briefly. When he left Jerusalem, abdicating the throne, while Absalom was trying to take over the monarchy, the government of Israel. But God gave the throne back to his broken-over-his-sins child.

One got right with God ... and continued in favor.

One did not.

Today let's really thank God for His deep Mercy and Love and Kindness and Grace!

In a single verse: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." First John 1:9

Praise the Lord!

No matter what you have done, or me ... God can and will forgive! If we follow the directions in His Word and respond as David did.

David again, still from Psalm fifty-one: "Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities."

And God answered!

Unconfessed sins can be so HEAVY that they crush a person, spiritually and emotionally and even physically! Listen one more time: "Lord, make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice." Heavy enough to "break bones."

And God did answer!

Yes, God can heal all those "broken" things!

David started Psalm fifty-one miserable. David ended Psalm fifty-one forgiven and praising God!

And we too can live that kind of lifestyle, cleansed and victorious!

Oh, Praise the Lord.

                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 19, OCTOBER 23, 2011:

King David, soon as he was anointed King of Israel, went to war. His land was overcome by enemy forces. Saul, David's predecessor, was not a very successful military commander.

As David fights and rids his Nation of wicked influence, note the pattern of his army's conquests.

He began by directing his efforts toward the wicked Philistines, to the west of Israel. Notice the direction, west. "And after this it came to pass, that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them: and David took Methegammah out of the hand of the Philistines." Second Samuel 8:1

Next he fought the Moabites to the east. "And he smote Moab." The first clause of Second Samuel 8:2. Again, that's east.

Then the King turned north. This is an astounding verse, geographically. "David smote also Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates." Verse three of the same chapter.

Then David turns, where else, south! The ungodly Edomites are in his sights, his crosshairs. "And he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all they of Edom became David's servants. And the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went." Second Samuel 8:14

You notice this, the scope of his victories, don't you?

Every point of the compass!

West, east, north, south!

Scripturally, in this David is a Type of the soon-coming Lord Jesus, our precious Saviour!

Christ is going to return to earth some day! Both Zechariah 14 and Revelation 19 tell us many of the details.

And when He does return, He will conquer the whole earth. And restore to Israel her rightful place as the premier Nation in the world!

He, King Jesus, will guarantee the Jews every square inch promised to Abraham long ago! "In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates." Genesis 15:18, from the Nile to the Euphrates!

That's west and east and north and south, just like David achieved. Joshua failed. But Jesus will succeed!

David was here merely a Type of Christ, the same Jesus Who is God, a "Man of War" as Exodus 15:3 proclaims!

Then, when this north-south-east-west thing is accomplished, Isaiah 11:9 will be completely realized. "For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

Amen!

The woman in John 4, the woman at the well, was right too. Or her friends to whom she had witnessed. Speaking of Jesus they said: "Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world."

We're on the winning side, folks.

The whole world!

                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 20, OCTOBER 24, 2001:

I just began reading a book of Thankfulness. I do that occasionally this time of year, nearing November and the Thanksgiving Holiday.

The author is not even a Christian, but still shares four hundred plus pages about gratefulness. Yet the opening pages are troublesome. She believes one can say "thank you" too much, overdoing it. Now that's just one statement among thousands of others that are on-target. And she may even be right about that "too often" thing as well.

I suppose that if a person said "thank-you" a thousand times a day, for everything from someone's obligatory smile to a coworker's on-time arrival ... those "thank-you" words could become a little mechanical. And appear habitual rather than sincere, perhaps even a little bit hypocritical.

But still, the Bible says this, Paul the Apostle. "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

First Thessalonians 5:13 here is an imperative statement too, a stark command. We are not being asked to give thanks, but mandated to do so.\

Let's study this.

The Greek verb "give thanks" is interesting. It is spelled, and you will know the word as Anglicized, "eucharisteo." It's "eucharist!" And by sheer grammatical definition it means "good" ("eu" in Greek) "grace" ("charis" in Greek). In two words, "good grace!"

For what are we to be grateful?

The "good grace" of God!

His kindness and love and mercy in all the situations of life!

Now we all can do that, Christians!

Plus the verse adds something about God's will. "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Yes, it is God's "will" that we enjoy His good grace. And speak of His good grace. And magnify this awesome attribute of our Heavenly Father!

Specifically that noun "will" is "thelema," just meaning "what one desires, one's pleasure, one's inclination based on his character!"

God is pleased when we are thankful! That's one of His goals for us apparently.

And this too, the verb "give thanks" is in the present "tense" here. The grammar here suggests gratefulness is to be an on-going thing in our lives!

Always thankful! "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

But look again.

"In every thing."

"En panti" the Greek has it. In the entirely of life, the "whole" thing, basically with no exceptions!

What a verse!

What a way to live!

And such is possible ... because of the "good grace" of God!

Let's all be more thankful today.

                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 21, OCTOBER 25, 2011:

You folks may have seen this, but it really is a new thought to me. A fact concerning King David of Israel.

That costly ordeal he experienced, that sin or series of sins he committed as a result of staying home from battle one night ... that infamous "fall" occurred to the King at a strategic moment.

David fell into those sins at the very highest point in his reign!

Just after capturing back lands that former King Saul had either incompetently lost or by neglect forfeited to enemy hoards.

After reigning for quite a while as King of the greatest Nation in that part of the world ... David sinned so egregiously.

What's being said is this: David went from his highest level of success to his lowest point of defeat within a very short time!

The same is virtually true of Elijah. One day he is praying fire from Heaven. Slaying enemy prophets of Baal, praying rain down after years of draught. Then the next day he is fearfully running from wicked Queen Jezebel and begging God to kill him!

From the highest to the lowest ... in a day or two! From the zenith to the nadir, the professor would tell us. From the top to the bottom! From the peak of the mountain to the depths of the valley!

Surely there's a lesson here!

Let each of God's children be careful too. When you are spiritually doing well, growing in the Lord, be careful! Be watchful! The devil would love to attack and drag you to the bottom!

Jesus counseled us: "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation." He said that to His closest three disciples, too. Mark 14:38

And Paul, along this same line of thought, wrote: "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." First Corinthians 10:12

Everyone, be alert.

It can happen to anyone.

One more Pauline thought: "See then that ye walk circumspectly." The adverb here in Ephesians 5:15 means "looking all around!"

Even when you are prospering spiritually, especially then in fact!

                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 22, OCTOBER 26, 2011:

In the Old Testament economy, according to the Law of Moses, certain "sins" had to be corrected by making restitution. Payback for any damage done! Let me give you a specific example, using the first verse of Exodus chapter twenty-two.

"If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep."

See the principle of which I spoke?

If a man of Israel stole or illegally confiscated another man's animal, that "wrong" must be made  "right."

To begin with, the Hebrew verb "restore" is very interesting. Its meaning is patently obvious, "payback" time has arrived. But the verb is spelled "shalam" as Moses would have inscribed it. This means "to make peace" with a person! One can easily see linkage to the common and well-known Jewish word "shalom." To reconcile a careless wrong ... to bring back harmony to the relationship, one must pay back in multifold quantity!

It will take five living oxen to satisfy the death of the neighbor's single dead head of livestock, his ox!

That's costly!

And if a lamb is taken?

Four-fold restitution is required.

Now we go from Exodus to Samuel, to the life of David. The King had "taken" the life of one of his soldiers. One of his mighty men.

David, in order to seize Bathsheba and make her his own, killed her husband Uriah. Granted the warrior was a mercenary, a Hittite, but still he was fighting in the army of the children of Israel.

David had the man murdered.

One lamb, one sheep, gone!

So God will exact payment from David the offender.

And how does that rule go?

"If a man shall steal a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore four sheep for a sheep."

And that's exactly what God required of David.

The King took one life, violently and covertly and blatantly and selfishly.

God will take from King David four lives!

All family members!

Precisely, four sons will die because of the King's sin!

And die they did!

Count them.

An infant, the child of the adulterous relationship. David and Bathsheba's baby boy passes away. God has begun judgment!

Then Amnon, who had just raped his half-sister Tamar! He was murdered, treacherously so, by another of David's sons!

Third, the rebel himself. Absalom is shot through with arrows while he hangs form an oak tree! Dead indeed, as a consequence of David's sins one night with a beautiful married lady.

Then number four, another insurrectionist in the family. Adonijah is killed because he tried to usurp the power of newly anointed King Solomon.

What's the point of all this math?

Sins, even confessed ones, carry heavy tolls.

They still cost us.

Yes, David confessed and repented, thoroughly, in Psalm fifty-one.

But the deaths still came his way. Only the baby had died when David sobbed his way back to God.

Three more still occurred.

Surely this is a warning to us all.

Avoid sins any way possible. Christian friends, they are just too costly. Temporary pleasure no doubt ... but permanent consequences here on this earth!

No wonder Paul counseled his young preacher friend Timothy, "Flee youthful lusts, and follow righteousness." First Timothy 2:22

Amen.

               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 23, OCTOBER 27, 2001:

Our text for today, the Bible paragraph, is a little longer than usual. It is an excerpt from the life of King David.

"And David sent forth a third part of the people under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said unto the people, I will surely go forth with you myself also. But the people answered, Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that thou succour us out of the city. And the king said unto them, What seemeth you best I will do." Second Samuel 18:2-4

The army of Israel is about to go to war again. The military strategy has been planned, a three-pronged advance, surely a brilliant idea!

Then the King says, "I will surely go forth with you myself also." No doubt David is remembering one night when he did not go forth to battle. That epochal night with Bathsheba, a sin against Almighty God.

But the men of Israel, the fighters, interrupt their leader. "The people answered, Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now thou art worth ten thousand of us."

They will not allow David, now an older man, to go fight.

He's worth much more to the Nation alive than dead.

Leadership is priceless!

David is loved.

Then comes the thought for today, simply quoting these people as they speak to their commander-in-chief: "Thou art worth ten thousand of us."

Wow!

Here's respect and honor and admiration!

"Thou art worth ten thousand of us."

Let me suggest something. If you are in a Church and your leader, your Preacher, is godly and bold and true to the Word of God, let him know what he's worth!

Encourage him!

Praise him for proclaiming the Scriptures as they are, divinely inspired and inerrant. Thank him sincerely.

Paul in First Timothy 5:17 teaches us to watch our preachers and teachers and spiritual leaders ... "counting them worthy of double honour!"

"Double honour," that's not exactly "ten thousand," but it contains the  same idea!

Sincere Preachers are that valuable!

And speaking of "worth," a word that closely parallels the Greek idea of "glory," one day long ago a Man, really Almighty God Who became Man, the Lord Jesus Christ died for you and for me!

He indeed was worth ten billion more than all of us put together.

Yet God sacrificed his Only Begotten Son on Golgotha's Hill to redeem us from the consequences of sin.

He completely washed away our iniquity by the Blood of Jesus, Heaven's most Precious Citizen!

Jesus, infinitely worth so much, died for common sinners!

How we should worship Him today!

                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Additionally, your wife or husband ought to be that valuable to you! "Worth ten thousand!" And that person who led you to Christ as your personal Saviour, too. You complete the list for your individual life ... but I am saying that honor and respect and value should be attached and sincerely felt for those whom God has used to bring you closer to Him, to maturity!

 

 

LESSON 24, OCTOBER 28, 2011:

Let me share a little thought with you today that might be an encouragement to someone. It speaks of our Victory in Christ Jesus, the Son of God.

In the life of King David he faced, as did our Lord, a traitor! Someone very close to him, Judas to Jesus and a son named Absalom to David!

Enemies from one's own household, one's own inner circle.

But what was the end of these two, these disloyal subjects?

Judas hanged himself, his head dangling at the end of a rope! Read Matthew 27:5, word for word: "And Judas cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself."

So did Absalom die by hanging! He was at war against his Dad and lost! "And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away. And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom hanged in an oak." Second Samuel 18:9-10

Notice, both these are head wounds.

Upon reflection I noticed that several folks in the Bible died this way. With the weaponry being directed at their heads!

Goliath, Philistine champion and hater of God, was slain by a younger David, whereupon the giant's head was cut off, decapitated! "Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith." First Samuel 17:51

And Sisera, arch-enemy of the people of God, was killed by a head wound too. By a woman named Jael who hammered a nail through the heathen general's skull! "Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died." Judges 4:21

Oh, let me mention one more at least. Dagon, false god of the Philistines and a man-made mockery of the God of Israel! After the Ark of God spent the night with Dagon in his little temple, he was found fallen over, with his head broken off! "And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him." First Samuel 5:4

The enemies of our Lord often get their heads crushed, it seems!

But there's more.

And this one is the best of all. Jesus on the Cross mortally wounded the head of Satan! In direct fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. "It (the Seed of the woman, Jesus) shall bruise thy head (serpent, devil)," words spoken by God to Lucifer himself. The Hebrew verb "bruise" here means "to break or crush!"

A pattern indeed, God's enemies fail.

Our Conquering Lord prevails!

We are indeed on the winning side!

Let's praise Him today.

                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 25, OCTOBER 29, 2011:

The man of God David, King of Israel, wrote a beautiful Psalm near the end of his life. Well, he wrote seventy-three in all, based on the superscriptions above dozens of chapters in the Old Testament Book of Psalms.

But today we focus one one, perhaps the finale. It's recorded in Second Samuel chapter twenty-two. It also parallels Psalm eighteen. It's interesting that the Holy Spirit has placed this divinely inspired Selection in the Bible twice. It might be doubly important!

The biggest issue for any teacher of Scripture, concerning David's Poem here, is a paragraph that talks about the King's righteousness! This is the King who had the affair with Bathsheba and murdered her husband and cheated and lied through this morass for nearly a year before confessing his sins to God!

And this man is righteous?

Read with me David's words to God: "The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore the Lord hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight. With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury. And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down."

Verses 21-28 of Second Samuel 22 are here reproduced, words that just seem out-of-place on the lips of a man who had David's background. I've underlined some of the more pertinent statements.

"Reward me according to my righteousness, O God! According to the cleanness of my hands. I have not wickedly departed from God."

Yes you have, David!

Are these words wrong?

Is David still blinded spiritually, or fuzzy-eyed anyway, from his sins?

No!

Not at all.

These must be the words of a forgiven David!

A post-Psalm fifty one David!

A cleansed David!

And a restored David!

A David who has now, along with His gracious God, forgotten those past sins. They have been "wiped away" by God's amazing Grace! Blotted out forever! No records now exists of them, not at all!

Truly once a Christian, after sinning, pleads the Blood of Jesus and agrees with God about his or her wrongdoing ... the floodgates of compassion and mercy and forgiveness open!

They certainly have for David here.

In God's eyes now it is just as if David never sinned!

That's when he can wrote honestly: "The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore the Lord hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight."

Grace, what an amazing thing!

Yes, these may be bold words but they are true nonetheless.

Read Psalm fifty-one if you have time today. And delight in it, relish completely the "washing away" of a Christian's sins that can occur when one broken-heartedly approaches God in the Name of Jesus!

Here's this same Truth in a single succinct verse, First John 1:9 style: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Oh yes, He is faithful.

Amen!

And furthermore, our so-called "little" sins of gossip and slander and backbiting and bitterness and resentment call for forgiveness just as much as David's so-called "big" sins did.

Oh God, according to Thy mercy and lovingkindness, blot out our transgressions. So David prayed and so God did!

Guilt gone.

And apparently, memory erased too.

Fellowship with God, including the joy and peace that accompany His Presence, have now returned to King David!

Hallelujah.

                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 26, OCTOBER 30, 2011:

The last words of David, officially anyway, are recorded in Second Samuel chapter twenty-three, that first little paragraph.

"Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow." 2 Samuel 23:1-5

Obviously in David's mind these are his "final remarks." He just said so in the text. He is soon to die.

He also knows, according the Scripture here, that he is God's man!

What peace in the time of death that must bring! God "raised" David up to be King! He is God's "anointed," the oil of the Holy Spirit being poured over him. Interestingly he here calls himself by a sweet little nickname too: "the sweet psalmist of Israel." David loved music and worshipping God. And like we saw yesterday David still treasures his state of forgiveness, cleansed even after the Bathsheba-Uriah situation. The things of life, once an erring Christian has confessed to God, often do return to a state of brightness and freshness, like a morning without clouds and tender grass after a spring shower. Refreshed and ready to enjoy abundant life! That's the Beauty of God's forgiving Spirit!

But then ... and even confessed sin still does this ... a hint of shadow crosses David's heart. "Although my house be not so with God." David regrets the state of his "house," his "household."

He has lived for the Lord, but not his whole family. David's sins have hurt his wives and his sons and his daughters and even his staff.

Furthermore that last clause, ""Although he make it not to grow,"   certainly refers to the diminished potential David's family experienced. God did not grant King David's Dynasty maximum blessing and growth, at least not like it could have been before those egregious sins.

Can a Believer's sins be forgiven, again I mean in a Christian's life?

Oh, yes!

But they still "cost" a lot.

They still have scars that often can't be hidden.

Consequences, earthly liabilities yet remain.

David, righteous David, justified in God's eyes, cleansed and pure.

Yet with a tinge of sorrow in his heart. about "his household."

About his four dead sons.

About his hurting God's Testimony.

About the lying and cheating and killing he had done or ordered done.

And yes, David did have sons and grandsons sitting on the Throne of Israel for many, many years. But his Kingdom disastrously split not long after he died. And today it's in ruins, no Monarchy at all.

"It did not grow."

Of course Jesus is coming back again some day as the greater than David. He will sit and rule David's Kingdom, in fact the whole world! And all will be well.

But surely you see the point of the lesson today.

Sin retards one's joy.

One's potential for enjoying Jesus!

Sin, stay away from it.

It's just too costly.

                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 27, OCTOBER 31, 2011, FINAL LESSON:

The great Old Testament King David, ruler of Israel, seemed to "draw" men into his company. Many wanted to be with him, apparently as a result of some great magnetism.

In this regard I yesterday noticed an expression describing some of David's supporters, friends, fellow-soldiers. Four times the divine historian, in Second Samuel chapter twenty-three, uses this phrase: "three mighty men."

Really David had hundreds of capable warriors under his command. Six hundred at once, according to Scripture.

But still, these "three" received prominent acclaim. Due to ultra-heroic acts it seems. For example, "Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time." Eight-hundred dead, by the hands of one man!

The fact we need to notice today: Of hundreds of allies, only "three" were included in King David's "inner circle."

It's not the number that surprises necessarily. Just the fact that an "inner circle" existed! That close to a "man after God's own heart!" That dear to the "sweet psalmist of Israel!" What an honor!

Now we shift to the life of Jesus. I'd like to tell you that our Lord had many followers too, just like David. Hundreds, if not thousands. Then of course Jesus "called" His Disciples, "twelve" of them. Mark 3:14 informs us: "And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach."

Twelve "with Him" for three years!

But there's more!

Of those twelve, Jesus carved our "an inner circle" yet again.

How many in this intimate group?

"Three," just like David had!

With Jesus they were "Peter and James and John!"

These three, these three only, went with Jesus to raise the little twelve-year old girl from the dead!

These same three went with Jesus to the Mount of Transfiguration.

And these three went with our Lord to the Garden of Gethsemane.

"An inner circle" indeed!

And here's the point of today's website lesson: Jesus still has an inner circle!

He's still looking for men and women who will love Him and adore Him and follow Him and want to be with Him ... motivated by love and gratitude and adoration!

Anyone reading today want to be a part of that blessed inner circle?

You can.

It's not a snobbish closed society either!

You can be as close to Jesus as you choose. James tells us this. "Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you."

Get close to the Lord!

Love Him with all your heart.

And soon, whether you know it or not, you'll be part of that "inner circle" of Believers, snuggling around our dear Lord.

David's "three" in ancient Israel.

Jesus' "three" in first century Israel.

And now, our Lord's "inner circle" in postmodern America!

"Come and see," an invitation Jesus is still extending!

What an honor.

Jesus' friend.

Jesus' close friend!

                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

We pray these thought have been a source of blessing to you. Keep studying God's precious Word!

 

 

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