Sunday, August 31, 2008


Pastor Shannon has returned from his vacation ready to complete the summer series of sermons he has assembled regarding five fruits of the Spirit and the lessons they teach about love, drawing upon the life of David to illustrate key principles. In the midst of a beautiful Labor Day weekend, the church was filled nearly to the brim.

Scripture readings today were from Exodus 3:1-15 and Romans 12.


Pastor Shannon opened by noting that there is, in Scripture, a distinction between kindness and goodness. He also pointed out that there are even different words used for goodness.

For example, Paul could have used the word kalos, which also means good in a different manner. Kalos refers to outward beauty, aesthetically pleasing to look at. For many, being out on a lake at sunrise casting for walleye, would encompass goodness of this sort.

Instead Paul used the word agathos, from which we get the modern name Agatha from. Agathos means moral goodness or integrity. Paul encourages us to increasingly express this kind of goodness.

Pastor Brad then offered this definition: “I choose to do the right things in my relationships with others.”

To illustrate the principle of goodness, Pastor Brad once again turned to the life of David. Today he shared with us an encounter he had with his friend Nathan as recorded in II Samuel 12.

We were reminded that before becoming king, David had endured much hardship at the hands of Saul during the fourteen years which passed between his initial anointing and becoming crowned king. Once, king, his life went on an upward trajectory with success after success. Chapters seven through ten in II Samuel find him doing well, winning battles, demonstrating goodness toward Mephibosheth, and winning more battles.

Pastor pointed out how Psalm 78:70-72 summarizes this part of his life.

70 He chose his servant David, and took him from the sheepfolds;
71 from tending the nursing ewes he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel, his inheritance.
72 With upright heart he tended them, and guided them with skillful hand.

David was at the apex of his success, leading his people with integrity, when became sidetracked. The incident occurred in II Samuel 11, which begins in the spring at a time when kings go off to war. Implied here is that David was in part distracted by remaining behind instead of leading his men.

Most of us a familiar with the story, but to re-cap. While David was walking on the rooftop of the palace, he saw a beautiful woman bathing. His heart was in the wrong place and his desires led him to meet with her. When she notified him that she was pregnant, he attempted to resolve the problem by bringing her husband Uriah home from the battlefield in the hopes that he would sleep with his wife and not find out later that the child was not his.

The scheme backfired, however, because Uriah was an upright man. He kept his integrity intact, and refused to enjoy the pleasures of his wife while his fellow soldiers were putting their lives on the line at the battlefront.

David sent him back to the front lines and devised Plan B. Essentially, he instructed Joab to put Uriah on the front, then withdraw the troops so as to leave him a sitting duck. The plan worked, Uriah was killed.

Pastor Shannon told how dangerous of a place it is when all is going for us. We are often even more susceptible to falling. But the harm done is even greater when we cover it up.

In chapter 12, David’s friend Nathan comes to see him. Nathan is a prophet who hears from God and also counsels David from time to time. In this story, Nathan was an “agathos” type of friend who did what was right even when it meant risking their friendship.

Nathan told David s story about a rich man who had plenty of sheep, but when a traveler passed through his town, the rich man killed a poor man’s only sheep, a sheep that had grown up with the family and was very dear. David became livid, outraged at what the rich man had done. Then Nathan exclaimed that David was that rich man. David’s heart was cut to the quick.

Pastor Shannon said that some of us are like Nathan. Someone in our lives needs to be confronted, and we need to be an agathos type of friend.

Some of you may be like David, with something hidden, and you have a pattern of covering it up. David’s response was godly, and significant. It is likewise instructive for us.

1) Admit it. (vs. 13) Make a clean admission of guilt.

2) Make it right. David went to God seeking to cease this pattern of wrongness. His heartfelt prayer is detailed in Psalm 51.

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.

3) Live the consequences with dignity. Just because David got his heart right with God did not mean everything was back to normal. Some of what David experienced caused great pain. The baby died. Later a daughter was abused by one of his sons. Another son put this son to death. Absalom later led a rebellion against his father’s kingdom. Later there was still another rebellion.

In short, a lot of the time things can never revert back to “how they were” but we can maintain dignity in the face of our changed circumstances. We can, like David, maintain a commitment to walk with God, no matter what.

In chapter 22, at the end of his life, David writes a song of praise to God. Bad things can happen, but this need not dampen our hearts. David was delighted with God, despite all he’d been through.

“Therefore I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing praises to Your name.”

This is the word of the Lord.

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