David’s Rescue: A Cautionary Tale

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We often teach or preach based on a single passage, parable, or even chapter of scripture. But I LOVE hearing the voice of David Suchet (who played Hercule Poirot for 25 years of drama) read the Holy Bible in the NIV-UK version, and found myself listening to the Book of 1 Samuel as Mr. Suchet narrated.

In Chapter 24 we see King Saul, maddened with jealousy and fear, seeking the life of David. While David and his men hide in a cave stronghold, Saul (leading his men) enters the cave to answer a call of nature, and David has his perfect opportunity to dispatch this enemy. He refrains, not to bloody his hands in revenge against the Lord’s anointed king. To hear the encounter and its conclusion (which takes 3 minutes and 48 seconds) click RIGHT HERE.

Normally, teaching ends right there and we break until another week, or lesson, or sermon, or whatever. (After all… the chapter is ended… go in peace… etc.) But as one blessed teacher of mine was always diligent to point out… “Scripture itself” didn’t come with chapter divisions. The next chapter “looks like” it takes up a whole new topic as David deals with some new characters Nabal and Abigail.

I was just letting Mr. Suchet transport me without interruption, and for the first time I saw this really cool thing I thought I’d share.

David is prudently yet living in the “field” with his forces, as King Saul wavers between contrition and homicidal fury. In the past, David has done good things for Nabal, protecting his staff and his goods in the wilderness, preserving them from any loss. He sends messengers with blessings and courteous words, and asks for such provisions as Nabal might spare for David and his troops.

Nabal, both named and acting the fool by nature, not only refuses succor, but rebuffs the messengers with deep insults and contempt for David. David seems cut to the quick, and resolves to redeem his honor and pride by killing every male of Nabal’s holdings. Fortunately, Nabal’s servants have overheard the initial insulting encounter, report all this to Abigail the mistress of the household, Nabal’s wife, who has provisions prepared and travels to David with words of service and apology, along with praise for the God of Israel and David as His servant.

To hear the entirety of THIS part of the story, take 7 minutes 50 seconds and hear Mr. Suchet narrate RIGHT HERE.

Generally, this also is taught as a “distinct chapter”, a “unit”, and we focus on the wisdom of Abigail, the foolishness and haughtiness of Nabal, on God’s wrath and judgment of Nabal, and the “everyone lived happily ever after” of the outcomes. All well, true, and good as far as it goes.

But this time, I was arrested by David’s gratitude towards Abigail for preventing his sin against Nabal’s household. She calmed his wounded pride and thirst for revenge, and he very distinctly thanked her for that. (I wonder if it was this, that attracted him to ask her hand in marriage when she was widowed.) But his words here are…

‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.’ [verses 32-33]

And later…

‘Praise be to the Lord, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head.’ [verse 39]

What struck me today was something I’d never seen before, and it only hit me because of the short time between the two narratives… but…

Isn’t it interesting how nobly David resists any temptation to avenge himself on King Saul, for his contempt, his insults, and his murderous pursuit, citing his refusal to have blood on his hands of the Lord’s anointed? And yet how soon thereafter David is roused to a murderous rage over the ill-chosen (all right, the “stupid”) words of a fool? He had cared for all those workmen in the wilderness, and they apparently loved and respected him (for it was they who went to Ms. Abigail)… and yet by this simple prick of his ego, this slight to his accomplishments, dignity, and graciousness, he prepares to slaughter who knows how many, to vent his wrath.

Rightly, he praises God and Abigail for preventing him from so great a sin, and life carries on.

But it struck me, and I wanted to share with you, Gentle Reader… how often we can sense a “large” spiritual challenge to our grace, and overcome it… only to fall to some niggling pettifogging prick to pride, ego, or dignity.

If David had killed the men of Nabel’s household, he’d have slain the very men who admired him and went to Abigail. Would such murder have been as great a sin as the regicide of King Saul? With “sin” and “God” is there such a question as “how big”?

This struck me, for myself, as a cautionary tale. It sometimes seems much easier to avoid the “big sins” in my life, only to fall so frequently to the “fleas” that seem able to niggle in past the plates of my armor. The Enemy doesn’t give up on temptation after one unsuccessful attempt, and I’ve long learned that “adrenalin is the Enemy’s favorite drug of choice”. If I can be made impatient or aggravated, if my pride or dignity can be pricked and offended, I can reach a murderous anger far more easily than I care to admit. (Cf. Matthew 5:21-22)

Anyway, just a cool thing I’ve never seen before, nor heard taught or preached… Thought you might find it interesting as well, Gentle Reader. Grace to you… Pray for me always!

Inside the Ark- rather icky

“If we were to progress through all the ‘bad God’ episodes in the Scripture then we would discover a god who appears to order or countenance all manner of Ethnocide, genocide, war, infanticide, murder, rape and onward.”

The “elephant in the room”: a “bad god.”

Or you might to walk with Brother Francis-Clare who writes with the clarity and humour of confidence there is no “bad god” and here is why.

Personally I find these posts valuable. Because they are not of the teaching I had as a young (or old) churchgoer.

Thank you –

Paul

(comments closed, here, please add any thoughts under the original post)

Just me being curious

Before we pop inside,let’s look back as to why we are in here – did God really do this?

noahtermite Attribution Carl D’Agostino https://carldagostino.wordpress.com/

This is  the continuation of those hard things we find in the bible, again part of a myth a very powerful story. How can we believe that Our Heavenly Father who declared all things good is about to annihilate all living things by suffocation and drowning. ( See Rashi commentary at Noes Ark 1 – the herald angels the previous post.

If we were to progress through all the ‘bad God’ episodes in the Scripture then we would discover a god who appears to order or countenance all manner of Ethnocide, genocide, war, infanticide, murder, rape and onward. That is the reason behind the references to “Stories’ here, they were written for reasons mostly having nothing to do with God but  humans, Historians and Priests, justifying the…

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The Trout of Doubt

Over at a blog called “The Undercover Christian” there is a fishing yarn …

The Trout of Doubt

“Let’s blow the lid on this, and suggest a startling idea – all Christians are sitting somewhere on a spectrum of doubt at any one time.  At one end is the conviction that God does not exist and it’s all a load of nonsense, and at the other is a wild-eyed, near-psychotic conviction that God is more real that Burger King.

And nobody is ever at either extreme.  Even self-described atheists have a part of them that thinks “but what if…?” (and they wouldn’t be very good scientists if they didn’t).  Instead, in response to the factors acting on us at any one time, we slide along this spectrum throughout our lives.  We might move in either direction, by an inch or a mile, over several years or in the space of a day.  In essence, all Christians are in a greater or lesser state of worry that they might be wrong, the whole time.  All people are, whether they’re religious or not.”

For some reason the reblog button ain’t there, so this a link to a fab post:

Doubt is okay!

Head over and see what you think – I did!

🙂

Paul

 

(comments closed here, please leave any comments at TUC’s place – thanks) 

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Superstitions of Christians (Some are really funny)

Tom has a habit of asking questions. He has a way of saying stuff. The stuff that makes you look in the mirror and see yourself more clearly. And most all, Tom does that with affection.

That is a precious gift.

Paul

 

(comments disabled here, please add to Tom’s list of over at his place, thank you)

Hard Times Ministries

I’ve heard many people believe that nothing should sit on top of a Bible.  It had to be laid down with face up and alone in the home.  Of course, no writing of comments in margins or underlining allowed.

Some in prayer believe if you call upon the ‘blood’ of Jesus that He likes those prayers more and thus, is more apt to answer.

Most of us still repeat “God Bless you.” After we sneeze.

You dare not curse inside the building of the House of God (As if God doesn’t hear you outside the building).

Many believe you can meet a good girl or guy at Church when really, the church is a house of sinners the same as in a bar or other secular place.

Many still believe you have to dress up to impress God at church.  Wow.  I could never get over this one as surely…

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Crossing a Threshold

“Smiley for Kylie is a non-profit dedicated to finding a cure for childhood cancer.”

What has this got to do with Church?

Well if church is people not bricks – and if people are living not dead – then living people connect in love, hope, sadness, and very emotion going. Church is inclusive of all, not just hymns and prayers and sermons.

Mark Meyer is living. His Smiley for Kyile is living. And Smiley for Kylie is founded on more love than I have a right to touch from so far away. And I hope you will be touched too.

I hope you will share this love you are now connected to with others in your own life, and that they will be connected with your love and this love and that they will share it with their family and friends, and so on and so on …

Love connects and love lives. And love is not just for Christmas.

Thank you –

Paul
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(comments closed here, please let Mark know your thoughts, thank you)

A Generous Helping

Smiley for Kylie is a non-profit dedicated to finding a cure for childhood cancer. The mission was not hard to decide upon because it was exactly what Kylie told us to do before she died: cure childhood cancer. I am excited to say that we just crossed a threshold. Since Kylie was diagnosed in April of 2014, her impact has now driven over $100,000 into childhood cancer research.

Our little non-profit ended 2017 with a flurry of giving that took us to $111,000!

I am blown away by the generosity and hard work of family, friends, and people who never even met Kylie. Kylie’s family would also like to thank our Board of Directors who support us in everything we do. We love giving away money to fund research and I would like to share a little backstory that will help explain what guided our decisions.

When Kylie was diagnosed…

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Stop Volunteering!

“Outside of the Christian faith volunteering is a noble act that is not a part of our normal responsibilities. Volunteering is done to help a cause that cannot function unless someone comes forward to fill certain roles. The volunteer is considered such a blessing that anything they do is applauded even if it is not done well or is not complete. The volunteer has nothing to lose and everything to gain because just showing up is rewarded with praise.”

A thought provoking read!

(please add any thoughts under Live 4 Him – they are closed here, thank you)

Paul

Live 4 Him

There isn’t a pastor or church leader out there that has read this title and hasn’t thought to themselves, “how can we stop people at our church from reading this post?” Short of crashing the internet or stealing your fellow Christ follower’s internet enabled devices you can’t guarantee that people won’t come across this post. If you are willing to continue reading you may even find yourself encouraging them to do so.

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