Now in chapter twelve.
These are they which came to David to Ziklag, because he yet kept himself close because of Saul the son of Kish: and they were among the mighty men, the helpers of the war. They were armed with bows, they could use both the right hand and the left hand in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of the bow, even of Saul's brethren of Benjamin (12:1-2).
And so these guys had practiced throwing with the sling with both hands. In case one hand gets injured or something then you use the other, keep going at it. And they…to throw the sling with the left hand was sort of a special kind of an art in those days. The guys were sort of set apart, and they developed with practice, they developed great accuracy with the sling.
A sling is an interesting little weapon, actually, and you can develop quite a bit of accuracy with a sling. And of course, the stone that you can use in a sling is much larger than a stone in a slingshot. If you’re using a slingshot, then you need small, little stones like marbles. But with a sling, you can actually…the best stones are about so big around. And so you can do a lot more damage with a sling than you can with a slingshot, and you can become extremely accurate. Because you get your two leather strips, and of course, you have a leather pouch in which you set your stone, about the size of your hand. And you set the stone in that leather pouch. And then one of your leather straps is longer than the other. And you take the longer one and wrap it around your hand and you hold it with your three fingers. And the other leather strap is long enough that you hold it with your two fingers like so. And then you get this thing swinging, and of course, the longer your straps, the greater distance you can actually throw these rocks in. You can throw these rocks a huge distance if you get these, get some really long straps and get a big enough rock it will get that thing swinging out there. You get the momentum going as you swing it around in the air. And then on the last swing, you take it around and you let it fly over your head, and you bring it with an overhand thrust. And you let go when you bring it over your head, with the overhand thrust; you let go of these two fingers, the finger and the thumb. You let go of the one strap, and I’ll tell you, that rock shoots out of there. And you can throw them just a long distance, three hundred feet or more, these huge stones with the sling. So it is quite a weapon. And these fellows would practice not only with their right hands, they practice throwing with their left hands, too, these slings. And so it was really a very effective weapon in battle, because you could start wiping out your enemy much further than you could throw a rock. And so, of course, it was with the sling that David wiped out the giant.
Now these men that came to David were skilled with the use of the sling and also with shooting arrows. And then also came to David while he was in the land of the Philistines, in verse eight, those from the tribe of Gad.
Now these men who came from the tribe of Gad were men of might, men of war, fit for battle, they could handle the shield and the buckler, and their faces were like the faces of lions (12:8),
So I would imagine that they just had full beards and looked real tough.
and they were as swift as deer upon the mountains (12:8);
Of course, in those days I imagine that they actually were in much better physical shape generally than we are, because they didn’t have cars and bicycles and stuff like that. They had to run or walk wherever they went. I go over to Israel today and I watch these shepherds as they walk up the hillsides and as they are following their flocks and so forth. And I think they must be in great shape, because if you don’t think so, you go out and try run up the hillsides like they do, and you’ll really be panting before long.
But you really get in good shape, and these men were all in tremendous physical condition. Fast, fleet-footed and powerful guys, and they began to gather unto David.
And then we are told of those that came from the tribe of Benjamin, in verse sixteen.
David went out to meet them, and he said unto them, If you come peaceably to help me, my heart will be knit to yours: but if you come to betray me to my enemies, seeing that I haven’t done any wrong, then the God of our fathers look upon it, and rebuke it. And the spirit came upon Amasai, who was the chief of the captains, and he said to David, Thine are we, and we are on your side, thou son of Jesse: peace be to thee (12:17-18),
Now here David, of course, becomes a beautiful type of Christ who have been anointed to be king over Israel, and yet, Saul had despised him and rejected him and had forced him out of the land. And David is now waiting for God to give the kingdom over to him. But while he is waiting, men began to pledge their allegiance and loyalty to David. They began to gather unto David. Even as the Scripture said, “Therefore let us go out of the camp that we might be identified with Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:13). And so they began to leave the camp and come out to David, and day-by-day they gathered until it became a mighty host like the host of God. And so they were men who made their commitment. "We’re yours. We belong to you. We’re on your side."
And so then, when Saul was slain, these are the men that made David. They came down to Hebron and they said to David, "Come and rule over us."
From the tribe of Judah there were sixty-eight hundred. From the tribe of Simeon, there were seven thousand one hundred. From the tribe of Levi four thousand six hundred men. From the tribe of Benjamin, three thousand. From the tribe of Ephraim, twenty-eight thousand came down. From the half the tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand. From the tribe of Zebulun, men of war, all with arm for war, fifty thousand, that were able to keep rank: and they were not of double heart (12:24-26,29-31,33).
That says a lot of a person. One of the weaknesses is a person who is doubleminded or a person who has double allegiance. These men were not of double heart that came from Zebulun, fifty thousand of them.
From Naphtali a thousand captains, with thirty-seven thousand men. From the tribe of Dan expert in war came twenty-eight thousand, six hundred men. From the tribe of Asher, those that went forth to battle, forty thousand men. And from the other side of the Jordan river, the Reubenites, all armed for war; and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, there came a hundred and twenty thousand men. All men of war, that could keep rank, they came with a perfect heart [complete heart] to Hebron, to make David the king over all of Israel: and the rest of Israel were with one heart to make David king (12:34-38).
Don’t you imagine that, as they came there from Hebron back to Jerusalem that they were a tremendous host of guys, as they gathered to David. Now they had a big party down in Hebron. They started bringing donkey loads of food and bread from all over the place to feed these. You know, these many guys come to visit you, you got to feed them, and can you imagine the logistics involved in feeding a crew like this? And so they brought, it says, the bread on donkeys and camels and mules and they had a big party and all. And it says,
there was joy in Israel (12:40).
Now in chapter thirteen, David said, "Look, if it’s your purpose to make me your king and all, if it seems good to you, and if it’s of the Lord, then let us bring back the ark of the covenant that we might put it here at the tabernacle in Jerusalem." And so they came to Kirjathjearim, where the ark of the covenant had been placed.
And they carried the ark of God on a new cart that they had made: and Uzza and Ahio were driving the cart. And David and all of Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets (13:7-8).
So here, if you can now get in your mind the picture: they’ve gone down to Kirjathjearim to bring the ark of the covenant and all of the celebration, the bands, the music, and out there dancing with all their might before the Lord and singing with the psalteries and the harps and this great time of rejoicing. We’re bringing the sign of God’s covenant with Israel back to dwell with us there in Jerusalem. And suddenly, the cart began to wobble and it looked like the ark was going to fall off the cart. And Uzza, one of the drivers, put his hand up to steady it so it wouldn’t fall, and the wrath of God was kindled against Uzza because they were strictly forbidden not to touch the ark, and Uzza died.
And suddenly all of the mirth ceased. The songs. I mean, it was serious. It was sober. God moved on the scene, and it brought a real note of sobriety to the whole thing. And David said, "Hey, I can’t dwell with anything that is that holy. Leave it here. I’m going home." And so they just left the ark of the covenant there in the house of Obededom, and he called the name of the place Perezuzza. Now Perez means a breach. God made a breach against Uzza. And so the ark there was placed in the house of Obededom, and David went back to Jerusalem. He was angry at God. Angry because God stopped this glorious celebration and stopped David’s intent of bringing the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem.
Now in this we find a right thing being done in a wrong way. Now it is not only important that we do right things, but it’s important that we do right things in right ways. When the Philistines captured the ark of the covenant, when they were in battle against Saul, you remember the story how that everywhere the ark of the covenant went, boils would break out on the Philistines? And so finally, in every city the men would get boils all over them where the ark of the covenant was brought. And so finally, as they started to take it to another city, the men in the city came out and said, "Oh no, you’re not bringing that thing here. We don’t want it in our city."
And so the Philistines then went to their prophets and they said, "What shall we do?" And they said, "Send the thing back. Take an ox and make a cart and put it on the cart and just turn the cows." Actually, not an ox, but turn the cows loose. And if the cows go right back to the camp of Israel, you know the thing is of God and let the thing go. Don’t touch it.
If the cows just sort of roam around like they’re lost, then you know that it was just all coincidental that boils happen to break out. And so they took these cows and they made this ark and they put the…they made the cart. They put the ark on it, and they turned the cows loose. And they started just mooing and going straight towards the camp of Israel. The Philistines followed and watched them go right on into the camp of Israel. Of course, when it came into the camp of Israel there was great rejoicing.
Now the idea is when David then decided to bring the ark back to Jerusalem, a good desire. But what did he do? He copied the method of transportation that was used by the Philistines. Now God in the law had commanded that whenever the ark of the covenant was moved, that it should be borne by four of the priests on staves. The ark had these golden rings on the side, and they would put these sticks through these rings so that it wouldn’t touch it. And there would be four fellows that would hold these staves on their shoulder, and the ark would be, of course, in the middle of them. And that is how the ark was to be transported. That was under the law of Moses.
Now, David was doing a right thing, but he was doing it in a wrong way. He was following really the worldly pattern of the Philistines in taking a cart, making a cart, an ox and pulling it. He was following the Philistines’ way of doing things.
Now I do believe that the church is guilty many times, or parachurch organizations are guilty many times of trying to use worldly methods for doing the work of God. Now that which we seek to do is right. We seek to bring men to Jesus Christ. But we get a bunch of suede shoe-Madison Avenue advertiser men and we say, "Now set up a program for us." An advertising program and all, and we’re trying to use worldly methods to do the work of God. Now you’re trying to do a right thing. You want to get men to Jesus Christ. But you’re doing it in the wrong way. God didn’t say that we were to get fancy advertising schemes and all of this kind of stuff to bring men to Jesus Christ. A lot of work for God, legitimate work that should be done is done in a wrong way. And so because we have been doing things in a wrong way, then we got to raise funds to support the wrong way method of doing things. And we make a travesty of God by the way we get up to raise funds.
It is a shame the methods that people use to extract money for the so-called work of God. I am embarrassed as a Christian of the junk that goes on on television in their fundraising efforts and methods. It, to me, is an absolute embarrassment. And they are motivating people the wrong way.
Now David, or Moses had to raise funds for the building of the tabernacle. What did he do? "All of you that would like to contribute to the building of the tabernacle just bring it in and dump it." He didn’t go around, you know, getting pledges or jumping up and down and running around the place, putting on a show. And the people started bringing in the funds, until finally, they had to stop. And they said, "Stop, stop, we’ve got too much. Quit! No more. You can’t give any more. Didn’t make it? That’s too bad. You’re out of luck."
Now Paul the apostle tells us in the New Testament, writing to the Corinthians, he said, “Now every man as he’s purposed in his own heart, so let him set aside for the Lord” (II Corinthians 9:7). But don’t let your giving be out of constraint. Never should your giving to God be pressured giving. It is wrong to seek to pressure people to give to God. And yet, how many times we notice that the whole tactic is that of pressure tactics. Professional letter writers to write the appeals. And all kinds of idiotic gimmicks are used by these people to raise funds.
When a person has to degrade to those type of efforts, then something’s wrong with the work that they are seeking to do. I am thoroughly convinced “when God guides, God provides." And if you tell me that you’re not getting the money to do this great program God has laid upon your heart, I’ll have to say God didn’t lay it upon your heart. When you have to resort to worldly ways and do things after the pattern of the world, it’s not of God. It’s not of the Spirit of God.
David made a tragic mistake. He wanted to do the right thing. There is nothing wrong with the desire, but he was doing it in a wrong way. God never intended for us to use the Madison Avenue techniques to sell Jesus Christ to the world. Or to use all of these fundraising techniques that people stoop to raise funds for the work of God. "Poor God, He’s almost broke. All the time. He lives on the verge of financial disaster. If you don’t come through this week, God’s had it." What kind of a God is it who never can take care of His own program? As I say, it embarrasses me. I’m humiliated by it.
So David said, "Hey, leave it here. I’m not going to take that back to Jerusalem." They took it into the house of Obededom. And then God began to bless Obededom tremendously because the ark of the covenant was there at his house. And so David said, "Hey, let’s get the thing back to Jerusalem. Let’s do it again." Only this time, he had gone back to the law of Moses. He said, "Let’s have four priests who will take and let them bear it between them and so forth. And we’ll offer sacrifices unto the Lord." And so they went out again with the worshipping and with the praising, the offering of sacrifices before the ark. They would go so many places, and they’d offer a sacrifice. And the priests were carrying it, and David put on just a linen. He took off his royal robes as a king, and he put on just a linen ephod, which was a sort of a, the robes that the priest wore in service. And he just put on sort of the priestly servant’s garments and was with the people, among the people. And dancing and praising the Lord as they brought the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem.
And his wife Michal looked out the window and saw him out there without his kingly garments, dressed in just the linen ephod, mingling with the common people, dancing before the Lord. Out there shouting, having a big time. And when she saw him, she despised him. So David had a great feast for all of the people as they gave to each of them bread and wine and a big portion of meat. And then after blessing the people, he came home to bless his own family. And when he came into the house, Michal said to him, "Well, didn’t you look smart out there! In a linen robe, no less. Big deal!"
Boy, I’ll tell you, it wiped David out. Just, you know, he came in just overloaded with joy, blessing. Oh, praise the Lord! Isn’t it amazing how easily Satan can deflate our spiritual balloon? You know, we can get so high and so joyous in the Lord and, "Oh Lord, You’re so good. You’re so great." And Satan can rob us of that joy. And whenever you get in that state, he’s seeking to do some little thing just to deflate that, you know, super feeling that you have.
A while back I was in the Safeway Market. And every once in a while someone will send some money and say, "Have a steak for dinner or something." And I had some money that was sent and a little note said, "Have a steak for dinner." Well, they had some beautiful thick top sirloin steaks. And so I picked out one of these choice beautiful thick, thick top sirloin. I was going to take it home and barbecue it. And I said, "Lord, I can remember the days when man, all we could afford, we couldn’t even afford hamburger. And now able to buy this beautiful steak, oh Lord, You’re so good. Oh, thank You, Lord; I just love you so much." And I, just pushing the cart through Safeway just really just worshipping the Lord and praising Him. Just a beautiful time. And I pulled up to the checkstand, just could taste that steak. Just praising the Lord.
And some short little fat guy smoking a cigar pulled… He came up and he just pushed my cart and stood right in front of me. Got in line in front of me. And my first impulse was to grab the guy by the collar, turn him around and say, "Hey fattie, who do you think you are?" And hope that he would take a swing at me. Oh how I wanted to level him. I was so upset. And beside that, smoking that stinky cigar! And I thought, "The very idea! I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve heard of it. I’ve never seen any. This guy needs to be taught a lesson." And the Lord spoke to my heart and He said, "Oh what joy and praise all dissipated over a smelly cigar!" And I said, "No, Lord, I’m not going to let him get the best of me." I didn’t have to smell his cigar. I took my cart and I went walking again through the store to get my joy and peace back again, you know. I made a few rounds through the store till he got out the door and then I went back up to the checkstand and went out. But I thought, "Oh, how easy it would have been for me to have lost my joy." God has been so good and all. Now one little adverse thing comes along and, you know, the joy dissipates so rapidly. Oh, how I’m sure, how Satan delights in robbing us from our joyful experiences in Christ.
I’m sure that he is just thinking of ways by which he can dissipate and see how fast he can dissipate that joy in the Lord. You watch it. The next time you have a real high in Jesus. Watch how he’s going to come along and try and deflate it. He’ll use some irritating little thing to just turn you out of the Spirit into the flesh. And man, it’s so easy to turn from the Spirit into the flesh. And that’s, of course, his purpose. Get me in the flesh, and then he just makes minced meat out of me. He can just defeat me. As long as I’m in the Spirit I can have a glorious victory over him.
And so David in the Spirit out there worshipping, and suddenly, man, it’s gone. Here is his wife just giving him a bad time.
Now Hiram the king of Tyre sent David down cedars, and workmen [and so forth], to build a palace for David. And while David was in Jerusalem he took more wives: and he had more sons and daughters (14:1,3).
And their names are listed there in chapter fourteen.
And the Philistines came [against David], spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And David inquired of God, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? will You deliver them into my hand? And the LORD said, Go up; I will deliver them into your hand. So they came to Baalperazim; and David smote them there. And David said, God hath broken in on my enemies by mine hand like the breaking forth of waters: therefore they called the name of the place Baalperazim (14:9-11).
Now it is interesting to me how that David sought guidance from the Lord and asked direct questions and received direct answers. I think that it is important that we ask God direct questions. We seek the guidance of the Lord by asking direct questions. Too many times we have our plans all set, and then we say, "Now, God, please bless my plans." Rather than seeking the guidance of the Lord and asking direct questions. "Lord, shall we go up? Lord, will You be with us and deliver them into Your hands?" Asking direct questions, he received direct answers. And I believe that you can ask God a direct question and get a direct answer.
I had an old Oldsmobile car, and it was beginning to use a lot of oil. And I said, "Lord, what’s causing this silly car to use so much oil?" And the Lord spoke to me and said, "Look at the speedometer." And I looked down and I was doing eighty miles an hour. So I slowed down. In those days the speed up was sixty-five. I slowed down to sixty-five. And I, He said, "You got a lead foot. That’s why it’s using so much oil." So I just started driving slower. I was, of course, having to drive to Idyllwild three times a week and up the mountain. And man, I had all those curves all wired, and you know, just floor boarding up the hill. And when I started driving like a normal person should drive, car quit using oil. So, thank You, Lord. Direct question, direct answer.
And I do believe that you can ask God direct questions and start listening and start getting direct answers. David was asking direct questions. God began to give him direct answers and guiding him.
Now the Philistines came up again and rather than just, "Alright, let’s go again, fellows. At it once more." He waited and inquired of God again. And he said, "Shall we go up?" And the Lord said, "No, don’t go up. But go around behind them and wait. And when you hear the sound of the wind in the top of the mulberry trees, then attack." So David went around behind the Philistines and they waited there. And when the wind began to blow in the top of the mulberry trees, then David and his men attacked and they wiped out the Philistines the second time.
And the fame of David and the fear of David spread throughout all the lands (14:17);
And it was then at this point that David brought back the ark of the covenant, doing it after the manner that God had prescribed to Moses bringing it back the right way.
In chapter sixteen,
They brought the ark of the covenant, and they set it in the midst of the tent, the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and they offered the burnt sacrifices and the peace offerings before God (16:1).
And then David ordered a choir.
And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record (16:4),
Now that idea of recording was for remembrances. To record the things that God had done so that the people could remember the glorious works of God. And so part of the Psalms are psalms of remembrance. Psalm 38 and Psalm 70, you’ll read the titles above the psalms: the psalm of David for remembrance. These are the…what they call the recording psalms or the record psalms. To make a record of what God had done to bring the people into remembrance. And then some of the psalms were those of thanksgiving, giving thanks unto the Lord, and then other psalms of just praise to the Lord God of Israel.
Now Asaph was the chief musician appointed by David, and next to him, Zechariah and these other fellows.
And Asaph made a sound with cymbals (16:5);
They played, of course, a psaltery; whatever type of instrument that was. And with harps; whatever a harp was in those days.
Now on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren (16:7).
So David gave him the lyrics, and these guys started singing and worshipping the Lord with this song or psalm.
Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones. He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; and hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance; and when ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it. And when you were from went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people; he did not allow any man to do you wrong: yea, he reproved the kings for their sakes, saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation. Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations. For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be reverenced above all gods. For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD hath made the heavens. Glory and honor are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place. Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory that is due his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Fear before him, all the earth: and the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let the men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: and let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein. And then shall the trees of the wood sing out in the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. And say ye, Hosanna, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise. Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all of the people said, Amen, and they praised the LORD (16:8-36).
So glorious psalm of thanksgiving and praise that David gave. The first that was sung in the establishing of the worship for the children of Israel as once again they built the tabernacle, brought the ark of the covenant, and began to establish the worship of God once more as the heart of the nation. And so David then appointed Asaph and his brethren to minister before the ark continually, as every day's work required.
And the people departed to every man: and David returned to bless his house (16:43).
You know, after this glorious time of praise and worship and all. And then David in chapter seventeen expresses his desire to build a house of God.
And Nathan the prophet said, [Good,] do all that is in your heart; for God is with thee. And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord spoke to Nathan the prophet, and said, Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not build me a house to dwell in: for I have not dwelt in an house since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day; but I have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another. Wheresoever I have walked with all Israel, did I ever speak a word to the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people, saying, Why have ye not built me an house [of crystal, no] of cedars? [Sorry.] (17:2-6)
I would like to say that I think that it is wrong for us to judge. We do not know the true motives of man and we only assume what motivations might be. However, in the same token, I would like to say that I don’t think that God has ever required that we build for Him some fancy place to worship Him. I believe that God can be better worshipped in nature than in a building. I only wish the weather permitted for us to worship outside. I think that it would be a much more fitting cathedral to just worship God outside.
In the Old Testament when they, when God instructed them in the building of the altars, God said, "I don’t want you to bring any tool on the stone. I don’t want you carving fancy stones and all. Just take the plain rock without bringing any tool on it and set it up for the altar." Because God didn’t want people’s attention to be distracted from Him to some fancy ornamentation that man had built.
Now, I don’t really feel that God has changed. I don’t think that God is wanting to attract people to fancy architecture or to fancy ornamentation. I think the more natural that we can be in our worship of God, the more we are closer to the real heart and intent of God. As natural as possible. And as I say, if the weather would permit, I would rather worship God outside. I love to go up to the conference center and I like to take the classes outside and just sit there in the pine needles. And you get that smell of the pine needles, and you get the sound of the wind through the trees, and you hear the blue jays, and the squirrel is running up the tree and all. And I love to worship God in that kind of a cathedral. With the blue sky above, and just nothing of man’s handiwork. Nothing of which you can glory in the work of man.
Now God said, "Hey look, ever since I’ve been with you I’ve been in a tent. Moving from place to place. And in all the time, did I ever say build me a house of cedar? Have I asked for anything like that? No, I didn’t. I’m content with the tent."
We’ve been praying what we should do here. We, of course, probably we could use, let us put it that way, a much larger facility. It would be nice to be able to have just two services on Sunday morning. As long as the Lord gives me strength, I love the three; I don’t mind it. But it would be nice if we could have a larger church where we wouldn’t have to put people over in the overflow auditoriums to watch on close circuit TV. It would be great if we could all be gathered together in one place to worship the Lord. And we have the money that we could do it. And the Board has been discussing. We’ve got the property and we’ve been discussing building. But we, more or less, came to the conclusion that since we feel the coming of the Lord is so near it will be better to take the money and use it in outreaches to get the Gospel out to people than to spend it in a building. And so we can go through the inconvenience of having to put people over there and people... Of course, fortunately the weather is nice and some people are fortunate enough to sit outside. We’ve talked about getting some speakers like we had for the Easter Sunrise service and put them out there so people could come and start sitting out there in the lawn. And the overflow could just be out there on the lawn, and you just sit out there and worship the Lord. We don’t know what to do. We do need larger facilities, and we’re praying about them. I even looked at some plastic cathedrals. That is, plastic domed kind of thing. Pretty sharp, actually, and very inexpensive, and they just take steel girders. Sort of a glorified kind of a tent. And my wife doesn’t like it but...
But David desired to build a house for God. He said, "Hey look, I’m living in this palace. This house is cedar and God is living in a tent and I want to build a house." And Nathan said, "Oh, that’s great, do what’s in your heart." And God spoke to Nathan and said, "Go back, tell David not to build Me a house. He can’t do it. I’ve been in a tent all the while. I got used to tents, sort of like it. I’ve never asked him to build me a house of cedar."
Now knowing that this would be a disappointment to David, the Lord said to him.
And thus say unto my servant David (17:7),
Oh, I like that. Oh, that God would say that, "My servant Chuck." Wouldn’t that be neat? To have God talk of you that way? My servant. What a joy and what a privilege.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took you from the sheepcote, even from following the sheep, that you should be the ruler over my people Israel: and I have been with thee whithersoever you have walked, I have cut off all your enemies from before thee, I have made thy name like the name of the great men that are in the earth. Also I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and I will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the beginning, and since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel. Moreover I will subdue all thine enemies. Furthermore I tell thee that the LORD will build thee a house (17:7-10).
You know, every once in a while the Lord speaks to me of what He has done for me. And I just am overwhelmed. And quite often when I start, you know, getting in my flesh a bit and I think, "Oh, it'd be so nice to have this. Or that would be great." The Lord speaks to me and says, "Hey, haven’t I done enough for you already? Look what I’ve done. Aren’t you satisfied? If you want, I’ll do more, but aren’t you satisfied?" Oh Lord, so satisfied, so satisfied.
God just said, "Hey, David, look what I’ve done for you, man." Now David was wanting to do something for God. God says, "No, I don’t you to do anything for me, David. Let me tell you what I’ve done for you and let me tell you what I’m going to do for you." You know, so often ministers are constantly telling people, "You ought to be doing this for God. You ought to be giving more for God. You ought to be sacrificing more for God. You ought to be praying more for God. You ought to be you know witnessing more for God." And they’re always emphasizing what you ought to be doing for God. God says, "Hey, hey, no, no. I want to tell you what I’ve done for you and what I want to do for you."
It’s interesting the New Testament really emphasizes what God has done for man, but we hear so little preaching on that. So much of the preaching is what man ought to be doing for God. And you hear so little of what God has done for you. And yet the whole emphasis of the New Testament is what God has done for you. And so what I do for God is only a responding to what God has done for me. You see, my natural response for what God has done for me is all God is looking for. Hey, He’s done so much for me. I just respond to it. That’s the truest service. That’s the truest praise. That’s the truest worship that you can offer to God is just responding to what He has done. Knowing and responding to the work of God is the true motivation behind anything that you ever do for the Lord.
You never should be doing out of an endeavor to obligate God to do for you. "Now let’s get out and really work for God so that God will bless and our church will grow. Let’s get out and praise the Lord tonight so God will bless us." You see, work so God will bless it. No, that’s the opposite emphasis of the New Testament. The emphasis of the New Testament is what God has done for you, respond to it.
Paul spends the first three chapters of the book of Ephesians telling the people what God had done for them. “Thanks be unto God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: According to his abundant mercy wherewith He hath chosen us before the foundation of the world. And predestined that we should be adopted as sons and has redeemed us by His blood, even forgiven our sins. That we might have this glorious inheritance in Christ Jesus. And then He sealed us with His Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 2:3-13). All of what God has done for them. And he spends three chapters telling them. Then after telling them all that God has done, he said, “Now walk worthy of the call” (Ephesians 4:1). Respond to God. Respond to the work of God.
Peter emphasizes what God has done. “Thanks be unto God.” You see it always begins with, "Thank God for what He has done!" Thanks be unto God who "hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is incorruptible, and undefiled, and fades not away; that is reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God” (I Peter 1:3-5). Oh, that is what God has done for you! You say, "Well, don’t I have some part in there?" Yeah, he gets to that. But notice he puts God’s part first. Never man’s part first. Never is it man’s part first. It’s always God’s part first, and then man’s response to it. So looking at Peter again. “Thanks be unto God who hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, fades not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God.” That’s all God’s part. And then he gives you your part through faith. So easy, just believe it. Just believe it.
Oh how glorious it is what God has done. And God begins to unfold for David. "Look David, I took you from the sheepcote, from following after the sheep. I made you the ruler over my people and I’ve blessed you. I’ve given you, I’ve subdued your enemies before you. I’ve established you in the land. And if that’s not enough, I’ll even do more for you, David. And I’m going to do more because, David, I’m going to establish your house through you. My King is going to come. David, you’re going to be, from you the Messiah is going to come."
And as God began to tell David what He was going to do for him, it was too much for David. He said, "O Lord, what can I say? What can I say?" Someone has said that when prayer reaches his ultimate, words are impossible. "What can I say, God?" Too much. The realization of what God has done for you. And that’s what we need to know. Paul even prayed them for the Ephesians that they might know that God might give them the Spirit of wisdom and understanding. That they might know God. And that they might know what was the hope of their calling and the exceeding richness of God’s grace towards them in Christ Jesus and the exceeding power that God has made available to us. Knowing what God has done is so important. And in those days, shepherds who will teach them the knowledge of God.
And that’s what the church needs today. They need to hear more of what God has done for them, rather than being pushed into works for God. Paul, what you ought to be doing for God, that’s what you hear all over the place. That’s the wrong message. What we need to know is what God has done for us. To know God, His glorious power, His beauty, His majesty, His goodness. And then we respond to what God has done for us. Father, we thank You for what You have done for us. Your goodness. Your blessings. Lord, they’re too much. You’re too much. And Lord, we love You and we thank You. Oh, how we thank You, Lord, for Your beautiful work that You have wrought. How we praise You, Lord, for that power of Your Spirit that we see at work around us day by day, as You are gathering day by day a mighty host, as the host of God. O Lord, help us, help us to understand more fully how much You really do love us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.