TRUSTING GOD IN ALL OF LIFE

 

June 26, 2005 ~ Westney Heights Baptist Church

 

The Psalmist writes that there is place we can go where God is not:

 

Psalm 139:1-16 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4  Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. 5  You hem me in— behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. 6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

    7   Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10  even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11  If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," 12  even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13  For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16  your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

 

I began my last message (Jehoshaphat) with the question “Does God care?” and used Jehoshaphat’s battle against the combined armies of Moab, Ammon and Edom as an example that He does. As you recall, when Jehoshaphat received word that these armies were marching against Jerusalem his first reaction was to pray to God. His second reaction was to obey God. His third reaction was to praise God.

 

The example I used in that message is one of those “BIG” events that are more the exception than the rule and rather than convey the impression that God is only a help in trouble I’d like to talk this evening on how God is a help at all times, that there is no aspect of our lives that is removed from His concern. We will be examining several scenes from the life of King David to see that God is not only concerned with the major events of our lives but with each event of our lives.

 

David first appears during the reign of King Saul when at God’s command Samuel anoints him to be king after Saul. He is described as being:

 

1  Samuel 16:14ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.

 

But he was not chosen to be king because of his appearance. God had spoken to Samuel earlier about David’s handsome older brothers:

 

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

 

From God’s point of view there was a great difference between David and his brothers, a difference of the heart. Saul was rejected because of his disobedience, David was accepted because of his obedience:

 

1 Samuel 13:13-14  13  And Samuel said to Saul, You have acted foolishly that you have not kept the command of Jehovah your God which He commanded you. For now Jehovah would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14  But now your kingdom shall not stand. Jehovah has sought out for Himself a man according to His own heart, and Jehovah has appointed him as leader over His people. For you have not kept that which Jehovah commanded you.

 

So David is anointed to be king over Israel and:

 

1 Samuel 16:13 from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.

 

Because of David’s attitude toward God he is chosen to be king over God’s chosen people and, once he is anointed king, the Spirit of God rests upon David in power. At the same time:

 

1 Samuel 16:14-18 the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him. 15  Saul’s attendants said to him, "See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16  Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the harp. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes upon you, and you will feel better." 17  So Saul said to his attendants, "Find someone who plays well and bring him to me." 18  One of the servants answered, "I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the harp. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him."

 

Two points are made here:

 

1/ David is not a child when he appears on the scene but is referred to as a “brave man and a warrior.”

 

2/ Those who knew David saw something of the difference that God saw in him and could say to Saul that “he speaks well and is a fine looking man. And the LORD is with him.”

 

It is obvious from the references that others made of David that he not only loved God but that his love for God could be seen in how he lived his life. David lived what he believed.

 

One of the big events of David’s life shows this to good effect. For years Israel had been at war with the Philistines and shortly after David was anointed king one of the Philistine champions, a man named Goliath, struck the armies of Israel with fear:

 

1 Samuel 17:1-11 Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Socoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Socoh and Azekah. 2  Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. 3  The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them. 4  A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. 5  He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; 6  on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7  His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him. 8  Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, "Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. 9  If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us." 10  Then the Philistine said, "This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other." 11  On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.

 

What I’ve always found amazing about this event is that David seems to be the only person who acted as though God is in control. The armies of Israel are made cowards by one man and only David has the sense to realize that victory does not rely on physical strength but on God:

 

1 Samuel 17:34-37 But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35  I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36  Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37  The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

 

1 Samuel 17:40-47 Then he [David] took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. 41  Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42  He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. 43  He said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44  "Come here," he said, "and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!" 45  David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46  This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47  All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands."

 

We learn two significant things about David in his encounter with the giant:

 

1/ He trusted God rather than his own strength, and recognized that God had been the source of his victories over the beasts that threatened his sheep just as He would be the source of his victory over the Philistine

 

2/ He knew that there was no distinction between spiritual and secular aspects of life but that God is Lord over all

 

Notice that we don’t see David suddenly switching into spiritual mode. He is no different during his battle with Goliath than when he was sent to the Israelite camp by his father.

 

It is held by many in our culture that spirituality can be isolated from life, that mowing the lawn has nothing to do with prayer. Hence the prevalent belief that each person can believe as they wish, that all faiths are of equal value. What is being overlooked is that there is a creator of everything and that creator is the God revealed in the Bible. It logically follows, therefore, that since He created everything He maintains an interest in it and an active involvement with it. Jesus alludes to this in one confrontation with the religious leaders of His day:

 

John 5:16-17 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him.

    17   Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." 18  For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

 

Jesus was not only making the point that He and The Father are equals but that The Father continues to work within creation as though it is a work in progress rather than standing off from it as though it is a finished work.

 

Paul continued this thought in messages he preached in Asia and in Greece:

 

Acts 14:15-17 Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. 16  In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17  Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.

 

Acts 17:24-28The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25  And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26  From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 ' God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28  ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

 

The idea that both Jesus and Paul (and every other writer in the Bible) are trying to get across is that the rest on the seventh day was not a rest from labour but a rest from creating. Since that time God has been active within creation for the glory of His name and the benefit of mankind.

 

Unfortunately Christians often buy what their culture is selling and so many of us have this un-Biblical idea that there are areas of our lives with which God is not concerned, that there are areas of our lives where we can do what we want and get away with it because God just doesn’t care. It may not be a matter of utmost importance whether you take a shower in the morning or in the evening and it may not be the highest item on God’s priority list, but the Bible never teaches that there are areas in our lives where it is possible to ignore the will of God.

 

When he was running toward Goliath David may not have been following the strategy laid out in the Israelite Wartime Manual but he was almost without a doubt the only man on the battlefield who realized that God cared about what was going on and would be active in the outcome. He was offended on God’s behalf and ran to confront the source of offence and to defend the honour of God and His people. He knew that God was not isolated from His people for from their problems, even though the particular problem David faced was larger than those he would usually face.

 

For all of his prestige David was just a regular guy. He lived his life, loved, laughed, fought and died. He committed adultery and murder. He defended his God. Very rarely do we read about David when he is not saying something about God. Even in the middle of his sin with Bathsheba David knew that God was involved:

 

Psalm 51:1-19Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. 5  Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6  Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

    7   Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9  Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.

    14   Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16  You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18  In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19  Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

 

But what about your problems, what about your joys, what about your tears and your laughter. Can these be taken to God? Should they? Would you? One of the greatest poems of the Bible was written by David and shows that he was entirely reliant on God for everything. One thing that I would like you to notice about this psalm is that David does not refer to the spectacular victories that God has and would accomplish on behalf of His people. He does not refer the magnificence of creation. He simply shows that God is in the day-to-day events of his life, that God is the provider of food and shelter. He applies the images of a shepherd giving his sheep the necessities of life to that of God giving His people what they need. The conclusion is that if God is so interested in our day-to-day affairs and His concern for these affairs leads naturally into eternity then what right have we to think that God cares only for the larger issues?

 

Psalm 23:1-6The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3  he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.