I Die

We have the tendency to overlook the weasel and the snake, because we are looking for the roaring lion and the wolf in sheeps clothing. And all the while the weasel and snake are undermining the plan, purpose, and potential in our lives and ministries.

My wife and I are journaling the book of 2nd Samuel together and she made a statement last week as we were discussing chapter 4. She said, “There sure is a lot of killing in this book!”

So as I am meditating on what I read, her statement keeps coming to mind. There is a lot of killing in this book, 1st Samuel ended with the death of King Saul and Prince Jonathan, and 2nd Samuel picks right up with the killing of the Amalekite messenger, a battle between Joab and Abner with a total of 379 men dead, the murder of Abner at the hands of Joab, the assassination of Ish-bosheth at the hands of Baanah and Recab, and the killing of Baanah and Recab for what they have done.What’s the deal?!

And as I am thinking about that, this is what comes to my spirit: when a Kingdom is established, something has to die. That is the brutal fact of war and kingdoms.

Look at history and tell me if you agree. Kingdoms require subjects, and Kings demand loyalty.

Is the Kingdom of Heaven any different? Do we not have to die to self? Doesn’t the Lord’s Prayer say, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? That means MY kingdom and MY will must die.

I remember talking to a Pastor in Rialto, California in the early 90’s. I used to be in the Christian Rap group Private Boiz and we ministered all around SoCal and the neighboring southwest United States. At that time, a lot of pastors were trying to reach the inner city kids and the best way to do that was through music. Rap just happened to be the primary genre that the Inland Empire youth were listening to at that time. He said he had booked his 1st youth outreach with a rap group, he served hot dogs, hamburgers, and refreshments, and a crowd was gathering near the outdoor stage and tent they had set-up. He had drove away for a few minutes to get more ice at the local Stater Bros. Market and when he came back he was shocked to hear a crowd of kids all yelling, “KILL THE OLD MAN! KILL THE OLD MAN! KILL THE OLD MAN! KILL THE OLD MAN!”. He said, “I left the bags in the trunk and ran towards the stage worrying and expecting to see someone getting beat to death.” But the kids were just repeating the hook of the song about a new life in Christ requiring someone to die to their old ways, habits, and lifestyle.

Isn’t that what baptism symbolizes? The death, burial, and resurrection of a believer?

I like how The Message translation puts it.

Colossians 2:11-15 “…Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ…” MSG

2 Corinthians 5:17 “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” NLT

Also take the time to read:

Romans 6: 1-14

If God is going to establish His kingdom in your life, things need a drastic change; there is going to have to be a funeral.

So as we look at the book of 2nd Samuel in this light, yeah, there is a lot of killing that comes with a new kingdom. The Amalekite messenger tried to weasel his way into favor with the king and it cost him! Abner, Baanah, and Recab tried to scheme their way, and it cost them as well. They all found out the hard way, that the new king can’t be bought or won over with favors. His appointment and anointing was God-planned, and he (David) is letting God do His thing in His time.

If we know anything about David so far, it’s that he is a very patient man and he isn’t easily swayed.

How many pastors (leaders/bosses) do you know that would have given the Amalekite messenger, Abner, Baanah and Recab, seats on their board(s) or advisory committee(s)?

How many pastors (leaders/bosses) have the Amalekite messenger, Abner, Baanah and Recab on their boards right now?

We have the tendency to overlook the weasel and the snake, because we are looking for the roaring lion and the wolf in sheeps clothing. And all the while the weasel and snake are undermining the plan, purpose, and potential in our lives and ministries.

When I was a youth pastor, I told the teens to notice that the middle letter in obedience is “I” and the middle three are ”DIE.” If you are going to be totally committed and connected with God, and His call, purpose, and destiny for your life, “I” must die! We must decrease so that He may increase, we must become less so that He may be greater still.

Lord, I surrender; every bit, every part, every habit, every thought, every friend, and every idea. I want your plan, will, purpose for my life and I know that things that I’m afraid to lose must die. Lord, I know you will never owe anyone, and there is nothing that I surrender that you cannot possibly replace with something better. I’m done being lord and king, I’ve tried and failed miserably. Take your rightful place in my heart and life, as Savior and Lord. Amen.

-soulKANDY

The thrill of the CHASE.

What possesses someone to go chasing after an ill-advised thing, something forbidden, something out of reach?

Follow along as I journal through the book of 2nd Samuel, if you haven’t been keeping up, go back and read 1st Samuel. -John

2 Samuel 2: 18-24

“Joab, Abishai, and Asahel—the three sons of Zeruiah—were among David’s forces that day. Asahel could run like a gazelle, and he began chasing Abner. He pursued him relentlessly, not stopping for anything. When Abner looked back and saw him coming, he called out, “Is that you, Asahel?” “Yes, it is,” he replied. “Go fight someone else!” Abner warned. “Take on one of the younger men, and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel kept right on chasing Abner. Again Abner shouted to him, “Get away from here! I don’t want to kill you. How could I ever face your brother Joab again?” But Asahel refused to turn back, so Abner thrusted the butt end of his spear through Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He stumbled to the ground and died there. And everyone who came by that spot stopped and stood still when they saw Asahel lying there.”

Reading this, I would love to ask that kid, “What in the world are you chasing? Have you even thought about what you are going to do if you catch up?”

It wasn’t a foot race; if it was Asahel would have won. Unfortunately, it was a battle, and Asahel was not ready for a battle.

What possesses someone to go chasing after an ill-advised thing, something forbidden, something out of reach?

We could speculate but we will never know for sure. Was it that Asahel was always in Big Brother Joab’s shadow?

The local news rag would read: Joab the mighty warrior! Asahel the…quick.

Or, Joab the formidable opponent. Asahel the Gazelle.

Yeah, nope. Doesnt have the same ring to it. For real, how many kids have pictures of track stars on their walls? Some I’m sure, but compared to boxers, wrestlers and MMA guys, the numbers don’t even compare.

So it could have been that Asahel was having to deal with older brother comparisons, or maybe it’s just as simple as, he got caught up in the excitement of the fight?

How many times do we do the exact same thing? Chase after something without an intelligible reason for doing so. How many instances can you recall in your life that have figuratively knocked you to the ground by some “Abner” you were blindly chasing?

Perhaps it was a career path? Perhaps the opposite sex?

Maybe an illicit affair, a hobby, a drink, a drug, a dream or an idea?

Reality can knock the wind out of you; for Asahel, it took his life. I know for me, there have been a few instances where I can look back and say that the warnings signs were there, though I relentlessly blew right past them, the guardrails, and headed perilously towards the cliff. I can’t say what I was thinking. I don’t fully understand that part. I know there was an inner struggle, but the flesh man got the upper hand.

The enemy knows our weaknesses even better than we do ourselves. So we get on this deadly pursuit led by our evil desires that have us blindly racing toward treacherous territory. Not everybody gets second chances, and most end up a spectacle on the side of life road like Asahel, while people gather around wondering, “why didn’t he stop when he had the chance?”

Why didn’t Asahel heed the warnings? Why didn’t he humbly submit to what turned out to be some “spot on” counsel? We may never know. Perhaps pride got the best of him? It’s not easy to admit you are being reckless. It’s even harder to look a person or people in the eye and ask them to forgive you.

But this I do know, if you happen to receive the gift of grace. Don’t squander it! Ask for forgiveness and work towards reconciliation. Then maybe, just maybe, you can rebuild or reestablish trust.

Father God, thank you for second and third chances as I (we) ask for forgiveness, and thank you for your gift of grace and mercy. Jesus, thank you for saving and redeeming this wretched sinner, and Holy Spirit you are welcome to prompt, prod and penetrate this heart of mine, enable me (us) to be Spirit-attentive to your warnings. Thank you Heavenly Father for this Word, it struck some very raw areas, but I (we) know it doesn’t return to you empty or void, but it accomplishes what you purpose it to accomplish in my (our) lives. Thank you for never giving up on us, for remaining faithful even when we are faithless. Love – John

soulKANDY