Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Week In Review


Theme: Women dispatched by God to share Christ – Through encouragement

2 Samuel 24:17, 24-25 (New International Version)

"17 When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to the LORD, "I am the one who has sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Let your hand fall upon me and my family."

24 But the king (David) replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. 25 David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the LORD answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

Background notes: David allowed himself to be provoked into taking a census of the fighting men. There were 800,000 fighting men in Israel and 500,000 in Judah. After David received this information, he realized he should not have taken this census. He realized his action showed his focus was in physical power, instead of God’s power. So he begged God’s forgiveness. God sends the prophet to David to have him choose what judgment he would choose for his disobedience. David told God to choose. Therefore, God sent a plague upon the people for 3 days. In that time 70,000 people from Dan to Beersheba died {NOTE: A LOT OF LIVES CAN BE LOST IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, IN FACT A LOT OF LIVES HAVE BEEN LOST IN THE PAST THREE DAYS}.

David saw the destruction that was going on in the lives of the people and he was moved with compassion to do something to stop the devastation. He built an altar to sacrifice to the Lord, to pay for the sin that had been committed. The servant that he tried to purchase the land from wanted to give David what he needed, but David’s response was he could not sacrifice to the Lord what did not cost him anything.

This brief picture of David shows us some vital points. First, David presents for us how through one man’s sin, punishment entered and the whole world would suffer for it. Secondly, he also represents how one man’s sacrifice would lift the plague of death and set the people free. This points you and me to one greater than David that came and was willing to make a sacrifice on behalf of the people. Like David, he saw the people as lost sheep. They were wandering and in need of a shepherd, one that would lead and care for them. Like David, he saw the devastation upon the people, as the people were lost in their sins and dying with no way of stopping the punishment that was befalling them. Jesus knew that countless lives would be lost, if not for his intervention.

However, unlike David, Jesus was without sin. And from his place in Heaven with his father he said, No Abba Father, do not take this judgment out upon the people, let it fall on me” and just as David refused to give a sacrifice that cost him nothing, so did Jesus. Jesus gave himself. The price he paid so that no one would have to perish was a great price, a price we could never pay ourselves. It was his life.

As I study, God often ask me a question, so I bring that question to you. The question is, “What is the cost of encouragement?” David was willing to place himself before God on behalf of the people. He even said, God let this wrath, this judgment, let it fall on me and my family. He was willing to give his life for the releasing of the people. Jesus came and said likewise. Now there is something I don’t want us to miss. David said him and his family would carry the burden for the people. I believe this scripture is pointing forward to what Jesus would fulfill. So then who is Jesus’ family that would be willing to take upon themselves the burden for the hurting, lost and dying people? Who can this family be? Aren’t we fellow heirs with Christ? Aren’t we children of God, the father? Christ made his sacrifice for us, now his Father; our Father is sending us forth into the world to share Christ, to be his example, to carry a burden for the lost and dying.

Now you may be trying to figure out what does this have to do with encouragement? When I looked up the definition for the word encouragement, one application had to do with valor and being a hero. When someone steps in and shows valor and becomes a hero in hopeless situations, they embody encouragement. David stepped in and was willing to sacrifice himself. He was willing to show valor or bravery. He was willing to be the hero, the savior of his people. Jesus, stepped in and became the true hero, the true savior to save his people and bring them encouragement. We as the family of God, we must now step in, be willing to be the hero, to show strength, courage, valor. We must be willing to be that Christ-like hero so that we can be the encourager to the hurting, lost and hopeless.

But we cannot do it, without it costing us something. To be an encouragement to someone requires us to make the stand like David and say, I cannot give this sacrifice (this sacrifice being the giving of encouragement to others) to God without it costing me anything. And when we do, we will see like David did, that God will heal the land. He will heal the sin sick, when we are ready to sacrifice for others (come back next week for the next installment).