Thought for the Week - 23rd FebruaryGraeme Rutherford
In the Old Testament we read of nations turning from God, indulging in sin and idol worship.
When understanding the history of these nations we can see why God was angry with them, and why He championed individual lives to show people the right way to walk, and the true God to follow.
We read in Samuel about the life and calling of David.
1 Samuel 17:46
‘’Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel!’’
2 Samuel 8
‘’1 After this, David defeated and subdued the Philistines by conquering Gath, their largest town.
2 David also conquered the land of Moab. He made the people lie down on the ground in a row, and he measured them off in groups with a length of rope. He measured off two groups to be executed for every one group to be spared. The Moabites who were spared became David’s subjects and paid him tribute money.
3 David also destroyed the forces of Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah, when Hadadezer marched out to strengthen his control along the Euphrates River.
4 David captured 1,000 chariots, 7,000 charioteers, and 20,000 foot soldiers. He crippled all the chariot horses except enough for 100 chariots.
5 When Arameans from Damascus arrived to help King Hadadezer, David killed 22,000 of them.
6 Then he placed several army garrisons in Damascus, the Aramean capital, and the Arameans became David’s subjects and paid him tribute money. So the LORD made David victorious wherever he went.
7 David brought the gold shields of Hadadezer’s officers to Jerusalem,
8 along with a large amount of bronze from Hadadezer’s towns of Tebahc and Berothai.
9 When King Toi of Hamath heard that David had destroyed the entire army of Hadadezer,
10 he sent his son Joram to congratulate King David for his successful campaign. Hadadezer and Toi had been enemies and were often at war. Joram presented David with many gifts of silver, gold, and bronze.
11 King David dedicated all these gifts to the LORD, as he did with the silver and gold from the other nations he had defeated—
12 from Edom, Moab, Ammon, Philistia, and Amalek—and from Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah’’
David’s life was vibrant in God and one of His championed individuals who had a true calling, understood the calling, and obeyed it to further God’s kingdom.
In 2020 individual lives are still called upon by God to live lives like David’s, vibrant for the works of God. As we can see in the passage above, David is alive in God at this stage of his life. Are you alive in God? Do you remember a time when you felt closer to Christ? When you were seeking Him? When you spent time in His presence? When your life was vibrant in God’s work to further His kingdom, clearly hearing His direction?
Often, we find as our lives go on, that we unintentionally take our foot off the accelerator, allowing apathy to set in. We see as we continue to read about the life of David that in his case, apathy led to gross sin.
2 Samuel 11
‘’In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.
2 Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath.’’
David should have been in battle but chose to send Joab. David, a life once so alive in the presence of God, doing His will, and obeying the calling on his life, committed adultery and later murder.
We sometimes see this in church today, individuals stepping back allowing the calling on their lives to pass by. Lives once so vibrant in God now sluggish in apathy, not having deliberately done so, nor committed any gross sin, but lives that have taken their foot off the accelerator and slipped into a position of indifference. This can be a dangerous place to be in, and one in which you might miss out on what God wants to give to you. At times when we have become apathetic, we need to be quickened, to become alive in God again, reminded and revived.
‘’Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.’’ (Psalm 119: 37)
Often lives go on in what is seemingly a good way, not committing sin nor going down the wrong path, yet that vibrancy is no longer there. Love for Christ once so central, no longer the focus.
1 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands:
2 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars.
3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!
5 Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.’’
We read about the church of Ephesus, good in their works, patient and enduring but lost their love for Christ. They had abandoned the love for Him they had at first. It is easy amid all the distraction of the world, in daily church life and toil, to lose Christ as the focus. When we lose our love for Christ, we grow distant to the direction of God, to His will. We begin to do things in our own strength and struggle.
Have you grown cold? That fire for God, vibrant life and drive to further His kingdom, a memory from months or years ago?
We should not accept apathy in our lives. Return to your first Love. Return to Christ.
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.’’ (John 15: 9)