May 16, 2008

A Small a huge plan!

This morning during my devotional time I turned to 1Chronicles 28. A bit of the story line...King David has assembled at Jerusalem all the leaders of Israel. Basically all who served him and had authority over the peoples of the nation. He is explaining to them why he has not fulfilled his promise to build a temple for the ark of the covenant of the Lord. He explains he had every intention of doing it and even has all the materials and the spirit guided plans ready to do so but God stopped him. King David had a plan, a desire, a dream to do something big for God and was ready to go forward with it but God stopped him. The Lord stepped in and said "nope this is not going to be about you! It's not about you getting the glory! Its about Me, David! You have been a man of war and have shed blood." (my version) It was as if God was saying I gave you the dream but its not yours to see it completed. It's as if God is saying, "I have started something in you but you have to let it go and hand it over to the Me and trust Me to fulfill the dream." Now normally the reaction would be, 'but I did all the work, I got all the materials, I have the plans, it is my plan, my desire, my dream.'

But this is not how King David reacted. You see as soon as the Lord said, "No to David He also said but!" You see David was favored by God and David had God's promise that it was through his family that God's kingdom was and is established. When God says, "but wait..." we need to stop and listen. You see even though King David was a man of war he also was a man after God's heart. So David listened and learned that although the dream of building the temple for the ark was his desire God showed David how He had plans to fulfill it. God told David although your hands will not build the temple your son Solomon will.David shares what the Lord has said to him to the leaders. He then looks at his young son Solomon and admonishes him. In verse 9 David tells Solomon,

"Get to know my God, have a personal relationship with Him, be acquainted with and understand Him and appreciate and heed Him, and serve Him with a blameless heart and a willing mind. For the Lord searches all hearts and minds and understands the wanderings of the thoughts. If you seek him (inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him as your first and vital necessity) you will find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever." (Amplified version)

Just a little bit later David tells Solomon in verse 20:

"Now be strong and courageous and do it. Fear not, be not dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail or forsake you until have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord." (Amplified version)

A few things stand out to me in these passages.

First, David's attitude. Instead of being angry at God for not letting him complete what he has started he willing said, "Ok Lord, I lay my plans down at Your feet and will trust You for the outcome." There are so many times we make plans even though they may be great and even God given plans, sometimes what we think will happen isn't what happens. David took time to seek the Lord for the plans for the temple. He took time to store up the provisions needed to build the temple. He has set in motion his plans to do this for God. But God had bigger plans. Sometimes we are the feet, the arms or even the head of a plan. Sometimes we play a small part and other times we play larger parts in God’s plans. It's not our job to question God what our part will be but to trust God for the outcome. It isn't always easy to do this. To lay your plans down and say, "Ok God it's Yours and I will follow what You want me to do." It's our human nature to say, " But I did all this work, why can't I see it come to pass, why can't I be the one to finish it!" God wants us to have a heart that truly seeks Him and is willing to lay it down!

Secondly, what stands out, is David's love and fatherly advice to Solomon. We see this greatly in vs. 9 & 20. He tells Solomon to not only serve his God but to cherish Him, "to require Him as your first and vital necessity" and if he does that Solomon will find Him. God's favor will rest on him. But if he forsakes (turns completely away from him or renounces Him ) God will cast him off forever. Those are some strong words David says to his son. Many people quote this scripture this way, "If you seek Him you will find him..." but what David is saying is not to just seek (search) for Him but make it your priority, make knowing Him a vital necessity. How many of us do this? How many of us make knowing God and His plans for our lives a priority and a vital necessity. Oh we may say, "God is top priority in my life." "God comes first above all else!" But does He really? Are you tithing? Are you reading the Word daily? Spending time in prayer daily? Serving in the church? Or do you give a little here and there and sit on the pew? Or maybe you say, "I love God and can serve Him without doing those things."

Would someone show me some where in the Bible that says, "You don't have to serve him, that says you don't need to go to church, that says it's ok to give just an offering and not your tithe?" No ,the Bible actually says, "Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves" (come together to worship the Lord - we do that by going to church!) (Heb. 10:25) The Bible says about tithing, "Will a man rob or defraud God? Yet you rob and defraud Me. But you say, In what way do we rob or defraud You? You have withheld your tithes and offerings.' 'Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse." (Mal.3:8 & 9a). In 1 Peter 5:5 it states, "Clothe yourselves with humility (as a garb of a servant) so that its covering cannot be stripped from you..." Basically serve others! You do this through a variety of ways but not by sitting on the pew when there is work you could be doing inside and outside the church!
David took this opportunity teach Solomon! To admonish him to make God a vital necessity in his life. As parents we have to do this. The Bible says, “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will return to it.” How many of us are doing this? And I am not saying, how many are sending your child to church expecting the church to teach them! The Bible does not say send your child to church and expect them to learn enough to return to what they have been taught when they are older. No! It says, “Parents teach them…” (Deut. 11:19). It is our duty to teach the children. It is our duty to lead a life that does not contradict what we tell them to do and live. I was watching Rachel Ray (I love her show!) yesterday (Thurs.) and Super Nanny (Jo Frost) was on. Rachel was giving some kids a chance to ask Jo some questions. One little girl stood up and asked, “Sometimes when the phone rings my mom tells me to say she is not there when she is standing right next to me. Why is it ok for me to lie then when my Mom tells me all the time to not lie?” I though it was a great question! I also liked the response that Jo and even Rachel gave. Basically Jo look at the mom and said you’re sending mixed signals to your child, that‘s what answering machines are for, to screen your calls. Then Rachel jumped in and said, if the phone rings and you just can’t talk, be honest and say I’m tired, I’m busy, I’ll call you later or tomorrow.
But just like this example how many of us are not teaching our children through our actions as well. Don’t expect your child to be perfect or learn everything at church. As a children’s church pastor I can tell you I have those kids for 45-60 mins a week! You as a parent have them 24 hours a day (minus school, work ect...t you get my point!) Its your job and mine as a parent to teach our children! Admonish them in the ways of the Lord! Not don’t make them feel wonderful all the’s what’s wrong with the world today! A feel good society, make me feel good or I will quit, leave or give up! What happened to common sense and discipline? It’s time we take back our kids from “society” and teach them morals, teach them the ways of God and encourage our children to make God a “vital necessity” in their lives! Parents….one last question… God a vital necessity in your life?”

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