You are currently browsing the daily archive for February 23, 2012.
So the first part is hearing and recognizing the call… followed by the process… to get to the promise…
The second challenge we have is the time between the promise and the living it. The process. Sometimes great time can pass between the call and the living that call. During this time God is shaping us and forming us and dealing with the crud within us. He is renewing our mind and making us into a vessel of honour (2 Timothy 2:20-21)
Take for example Saul and David.
Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else. 1 Samuel 9:2
They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” 1 Samuel 10:23-24
When Saul was chosen king he was the most handsome and stand out guy in the nation. He had all the gifts and talents and personality. Samuel anointed him and he immediately began ruling as king of all of Israel. Yet he ended up failing as king and turning away from God.
“While king saul was truly the best man Israel had to offer when they demanded a king, his heart had not been groomed through testing before he assumed the throne. As king, saul was entrusted with a measure of anointing to lead the armies of Israel to victory and shepherd the people. Yet without the strength of character that only comes by winning private battles, these public victories exposed the previously hidden weakness of saul’s heart towards God. That weakness, combined with his growing appetite for favour of man, led him to bring glory to himself and disobey the Lord.” Bill Johnson – Strengthen Yourself In The Lord
David however was anointed and then spent about 14 years in “training”. In those training years he endured more difficulty, persecution and rejection that many of us face in a lifetime. He probably didn’t expect it to take so long for him to be king. God didn’t want another king saul and so took His time to mold David into a king and man after His own heart.
God takes us through a process of character growth and learning and development. Refinement. Transformation. Change. = Process.
We are like jars of clay, shaped and moulded by God for His purposes and plans.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:8-14
what a night that would have been.
the angels came and heralded the birth of the messiah, the saviour they were all waiting for, to simple, probably uneducated shepherds.
the angelic host came and sung concert for shepherds.
shepherds huddling around a fire, talking about their day, watching their flocks by night. unwashed and rugged, working the land, working with the sheep. low in social class, overlooked, rejected. their testimony was regarded as false and worthless. they were unwanted in the synagogue. working class. ordinary people.
and God chose them to be one of the first to know that their Messiah was here! alive! born! revealed!
why did God choose these men? what was it about them that created this opportunity? i don’t believe it was just random.
perhaps it was because they would protect the Son of God and his identity, not seeking personal gain or their 15 minutes of fame.
perhaps it is because they were men of simple real faith and expectation, instead of the religious men of their day who exalted God with their lips but denied Him with their hearts.
perhaps it is because God has a heart for shepherds… abraham, isaac and jacob were shepherds, as were king david… and his Son, the Good Shepherd…
God intentionally bypassed the religious and the rich and the noble, and choose to reveal His Son to the outcasts and the ignoble. the rejected and ignored.
in a way it turns things on its head. God didn’t some to the religious or the spiritually obvious. He drew near to ordinary men. Ordinary men out doing their manual labour jobs. The least expected. And God draws near to us too. He isn’t reserved away for the elite or the rich or the personality plus people. He draws near to ordinary people, with ordinary lives, in the dirt and darkness of life and reveals the splendour of His reality and love and grace.
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. Luke 2:15-18
the shepherds had this amazing encounter with an angelic choir – and then they went, and put their faith into action, by finding the child they sung of.
They responded in faith. they went and found Jesus. they responded with action, they went into Bethlehem to find their messiah. they left their sheep at night and went to find the baby the angels sung praises to. they interrupted their lives to go and find Jesus.
what did they do next?
go back to the fireside for a cup of coffee?
out to McD’s for a big mac after a big day?
home to bed?
no they went out and they spread the word. they told people. they overflowed with excitement. they couldn’t contain it.
The shepherd’s response to this amazing experience – the angels, the worship, the saviour – was to worship God, to praise Him for what He had done, what He had done unexpectedly for an undeserving people.
how often do we take for granted the amazing things that God has done and is doing in our lives and the lives of those around us. i want to have the same enthusiasm and gratefulness that the shepherds had. i want to let my life be a witness to the reality and love and grace of God.
there is a well known saying: God doesn’t need your ability, He needs your availability!
the shepherds were available to God. and faithful to the revelation they were given.
they were not limited by the people’s perception of who they were, or their own insecurities (i’m JUST A shepherd) – but they went out and they found the messiah and then they went and told the good news.
i wondered how their lives changed, from that point on. if they looked out for evidence of Jesus growing up, if they were there for the sermon on the mount, if they followed him in His ministry. did they recognise Him as the promised saviour? did they live out a more faithful devoted life?
How awesome: the first people told about the salvation of God arriving are the shepherds. Many of them raised lambs which would be used in sacrifices at the temple for people’s sins. And now here is the Saviour of the world: the Lamb of God, for all people. He would take their place. No more need for innocent lambs to be sacrificed. And they became the first prophet-preachers to tell others the saying which they heard, spreading peace, good will toward men. youversion note