Sunday, July 12, 2015

When You Take Life Into Your Own Hands

Pastor Brad will be in Tennessee this week along with 15 youth from our church for the CHIC event there. The acronym means Covenant High In Christ, an event held every three years designed to be a catalyst to help young people grasp God's bigger life mission. Our guest speaker today was Dave Eaton, who was preceded by the ad hoc assembly of musicians with whom Darlene, Chuck and Ken regularly perform at nursing homes from time to time.

Chuck welcomed us with a hearty "Good morning" and introduced Dave Eaton, who is active at nursing homes and local hospitals, serving as a hospice chaplain.

After a time of prayer, Pastor Eaton read Psalm 139 and then proceeded to give the message.

When You Take Life Into Your Own Hands

Today's message focused on the life of David, perhaps Israel's greatest king. Specifically, Pastor Eaton focused on the stories related in the last chapters of I Samuel, the period in time after David had been anointed by Samuel to be king but before the actual ascension to the throne had taken place.

These were difficult times for David, who had become close to King Saul through his ability to sooth the king's anxiety by means of music. But David also made a name for himself as a leader in battle. As his fame grew for his achievements, the king became increasingly jealous and ultimately made attempts on his life. (I Samuel 26)

David was a man of action and passionate for God, but he was also flawed. Nevertheless, God called him a man after His own heart.

When he fled the kingdom he was pursued by Saul's army. On one occasion he was hiding in a cave and Saul came in to take a rest. On another occasion he also had opportunity to kill Saul, but he held to his convictions: "Touch not the Lord's anointed." He did not see it as the right thing to do, even though Saul was set against him and wished him dead. Instead he trusted in God. (I Samuel 26)

Dave Eaton noted that it is not easy to follow God on a daily basis. There is always a tension between our desire to follow Him and the actions we take on a daily basis. It's a tension between God's way or my way.

David decides that rather than remain on the run he will take the 600 men who have left Israel with him to go to the land of the Philistines. It's an impulsive move on his part, with consequences. Things don't go as planned. He provided for his army and their families by raiding other tribes in the region, but would tell the Philistine leader Achish that he had been raiding Israeli towns and villages. As a result Achish sought to recruit David to go to war against Israel with him.

Ultimately David was spared having to go because other Philistine leaders didn't trust him. But further dire consequences occur, and David become increasingly aware of the problems that come from not seeking God in all life's decisions.

With God there is always the possibility of grace and restoration. God wants us to look to Him for that way out. He doesn't want us to say, "I got myself into this mess, I'll get myself out."

David's bad choices lead to 16 wasted months and damage to families who relied on him. Ultimately, David found strength in the Lord, and took away many lessons from this misadventure including an important lesson about God's redemption and mercy.

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