TEEN TREE        OF LIFE

God’s Goodness  –  Part 6

May 9, 2021

 

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

In order to see how truly incredible God’s Goodness is, you have to recognize and then become aware of how out of control people can become. This includes all people – believers and unbelievers. Solomon (like all of us) displayed extremely bad behavior by making really, horrible free-will choices and decisions.

 

That said, to have more insight into Solomon’s life, we should first look at his father David, the poet and king who, against great odds, founded the Judaean dynasty and united all the tribes of Israel, under one monarch. David, like his son, is also someone God treated with great Goodness throughout his life, despite many bad life choices and extremely sinful living.

 

Let us start with this fact: God refers to David as “a man dear to my heart.” How’s that for a “pet name???” Look at ACTS 13:14-23 (New International Reader’s Version): On the Sabbath day they [the apostle Paul and his companions] entered the synagogue and sat down. The Law and the Prophets were read aloud. Then the leaders of the synagogue sent word to Paul and his companions. They said, “Brothers, do you have any words of instruction for the people? If you do, please speak.” Paul stood up and motioned with his hand. Then he said, “Fellow Israelites, and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! The God of Israel chose our people who lived long ago. He blessed them greatly while they were in Egypt. With his mighty power he led them out of that country. He put up with their behavior for about 40 years in the desert. And he destroyed seven nations in Canaan. Then he gave the land to his people as their rightful share. All this took about 450 years. “After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then the people asked for a king. He gave them Saul, son of Kish. [Saul plays an important part in David’s story, which you learn, later in this study.] Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin. He ruled for 40 years. God removed him and made David their king. Here is God’s witness about him. ‘David, son of Jesse, is a man dear to my heart,’ he said. ‘David will do everything I want him to do.’ “From this man’s family line God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus. This is what he had promised.”

 

The Message Bible has a GREAT translation of Paul’s same message in ACTS 13:20-22: “Up to the time of Samuel the prophet, God provided judges to lead them [the Jews, Paul’s ancestors]. But then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul, son of Kish, out of the tribe of Benjamin. After Saul had ruled forty years, God removed him from office and put King David in his place, with this commendation: ‘I’ve searched the land and found this David, son of Jesse. He’s a man whose heart beats to my heart, a man who will do what I tell him.’”

 

Are you wondering what characteristics David possessed in order to qualify for God to feel this way about him?? Why do you think that God considered David to be a man whose Heart beats to His Own? The key reason is that David was a man who would do what God told him to do!! That is also the key to staying in God’s Personal Plan for all believers today, in the Church-Age. We must follow His Commands – do what He tells us to do. John (a.k.a. “the apostle Jesus Loved”) quoted Our Lord and Savior who shared the same message: “If you love me, obey my commands.” (JOH 14:15 New International Readers Version)

 

Further into JOHN 14, the apostle quotes more of Jesus Christ’s message: “The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.” (JOH 14:21 The Message Bible) Notice Our Lord and Savior wants us to know and keep his commandments. Makes sense, doesn’t it? You must learn His commandments in order to keep them. David was that “person” and you should be, too.

 

Other reasons God considered David “a man dear to my heart” are found in the details of his fascinating life. Yes, it’s true that David committed terrible sins, including adultery and murder; but God’s Goodness, Forgiveness and Love came into play throughout these times. And He’ll show us the same Goodness, Forgiveness and Love when we fail, provided we rebound and keep moving forward in His Plan for our lives. And keep studying and applying His Word!

 

Did you know that God The Father, through God The Holy Spirit, used human authors, like David, to write what He wanted revealed in the Bible? The human authors were not just copying or transcribing. The Holy Spirit guided and controlled the writers of Scripture. They used their own expressions and styles, but they wrote only what The Holy Spirit intended. Think about that as we look at David’s life.

 

David is a main character in the Old Testament books 1 SAMUEL, 2 SAMUEL, 1 CHRONICLES, and 2 CHRONICLES. He’s also mentioned in several other books, and nearly half of THE PSALMS are attributed to him. THE PSALMS reveal a great deal about David’s character. In them, he shares incredibly personal details about his life for us to examine. In the Bible Books written about him, we discover that without question, David was far from perfect. But what made him a cut above the rest was that he never took his eyes off God. He had a deep desire to follow God’s Will and do what God wanted him to do. Like every man and woman who ever lived (or is alive today), David’s life was a portrait of success and failure. But his life is a big part of God’s Word and it’s important to understand why.

 

David had absolute faith in God. Nowhere in Scripture is this point better illustrated than in 1 SAM 17 when the Philistines are once again gearing up for war against the Israelites. At one point in the battle, Saul (the King of the Israelites) occupies one hill with his forces while the Philistines occupy another. The hills are separated by the valley of Elah. Out of nowhere, the Philistines send out their best man: Goliath! He stands over nine feet tall and wears bronze armor.

 

Now, this had to be quite a terrifying moment for the Israelites! Imagine their faces when they saw a nine-foot tall man emerging from the Philistine camp: Goliath stood there and shouted to the soldiers of Israel. He said, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? I’m a Philistine. You are servants of Saul. Choose one of your men. Have him come down and face me. If he’s able to fight and kill me, we’ll become your slaves. But if I win and kill him, you will become our slaves and serve us.” Goliath continued, “This day I dare the soldiers of Israel to send a man down to fight against me.” Saul and the whole army of Israel heard what the Philistine said. They were terrified. (1 SAM 17: 8-11 New International Reader’s Version)

 

Goliath’s arrogance is astounding! And you must admit, no matter what, his “dare” was a risky decision to make in the heat of battle. Think about it: if an Israelite is able to kill Goliath, the Philistines will become the Israelites’ servants. Not a bad outcome! But sadly, Goliath is so intimidating that the Israelite soldiers run from him.

 

The story gets better when David is introduced!! Look at 1 SAM 17: 12-15 (New International Reader’s Version): David was the son of Jesse, who belonged to the tribe of Ephraim. Jesse was from Bethlehem in Judah. He had eight sons. When Saul was king, Jesse was already very old. Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul into battle. The oldest son was Eliab. The second was Abinadab. The third was Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest sons followed Saul. But David went back and forth from Saul’s camp to Bethlehem. He went to Bethlehem to take care of his father’s sheep.

 

So, one day, David is asked by his father to take food to the Israelites’ camp and then return home to fill him in on how the battle’s going. David arrives at the camp just in time to see the soldiers taking up their positions. He delivers the food and goes to check up on his brothers. 1 SAM 17: 26 (New International Reader’s Version) tells us what happened next: David spoke to the men standing near him. He asked them, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine? Goliath is bringing shame on Israel. What will be done for the one who removes it? This Philistine isn’t even circumcised. He dares the armies of the living God to fight him. Who does he think he is?” Bear in mind that David is a very young person – a pre-teen! It is estimated that he was only 15 years old at this point! But David is a person of GREAT faith, and he eventually works up the courage to go to King Saul to say that he will fight Goliath.

 

Of course, Saul reminds him that he’s only a boy; but David reminds him that he has killed lions and bears who tried to run off with his father’s sheep. How is that for bravery!! And probably because he had nothing to lose, King Saul gives David permission to fight Goliath. He asks David to put on the armor his soldiers wore in battle; but David is so small he is unable to even walk wearing it. So, he takes it all off and prepares for battle his way. He grabs his staff, finds five stones, puts them in his pouch, and goes out to face Goliath with his sling. These are the tools he used as a shepherd to protect his father’s sheep.

{to be continued}

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