Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Take umbrage, Brethren!

We don't take umbrage at the rudeness against our God any more. People say the most horrible things about God and Jesus and blaspheme the Holy Spirit, and Christians look the other way. Where is the outrage? Why are we not offended on behalf of our Holy God at some of the things that happen in His name, or are defiance against His name? Here is a story from the Old Testament which made me think of this.

The Philistines were lined up one mountain, and the Israelites were lined up on another. For 40 days Goliath the giant had stomped out and made his challenge to the Israelites. And for 40 days the encamped Israelites did nothing...except for maybe impotently shudder and quake.
He [Goliath] stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. (1 Samuel 17:8-11)
Day after day this went on. Day after day the Israelites stood by, listening.

One day David's father Jesse ordered his youngest son David to bring some provisions to three of his eldest brothers who were in the fight and encamped with the Israelites. David fulfilled his duty to the commanding officer and delivered the provisions and went to see his brothers. At that time Goliath got up his usual speech. "And David heard him." (1 Samuel 17:22b). As usual, "All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid." (1 Samuel 17:24).

But David took umbrage. He said--

"For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
(1 Sam 17:26b)

The men had forgotten who they were fighting for. But David did not forget. He held His God in the highest esteem, and knew that His holiness and His power were supreme. He is the highest treasure, and to have his name defiled is  (or should be) of concern to every believer.

"Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied."

The first thing that David did was take offense. He didn't mount up on a horse. He didn't suit up in armor. He certainly didn't ignore the defiance. He turned to his brothers and said, "did you hear what that guy just said about God?!" Then David took action.

We're all used to the many good sermons and lessons from the passage about how if God is with us who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

But the focus today I want to make is that David was offended at their statements and actions. He heard it, he resolved to find out more, and when he had, he took action. Why don't we do that?

Now, I don't know what defiance against God might look like in your sphere, whether it is church, or work or the gym or wherever. Of course I am not suggesting you go out and fling a stone at the defiant one and go chop off his head or hit him with your best shot. But too many Christians are not offended at the things we should be offended at. I can give one example from life today.

I watched a video of Phil Robertson of Duck Commander and Duck Dynasty television fame preach. In that segment Phil said that he was on the phone at Duck Commander headquarters taking an order for a duck call from a guy in Alabama. Phil said that the man was using God's name in vain, that every other word out of the guy's mouth was "G-d this and G-d that." Finally after about the fifth time, Phil couldn't take it any more and he asked the guy, "Why are you cursing the only One that can rescue you from death?"

David had listened, then researched more by asking his brothers about Goliath, then he made a plan of action. Phil Robertson didn't leap on the guy on the phone, nor scold him, but reasonably asked a question. This was because it hurt Phil's spirit to hear the Lord's name taken in vain so casually and blasphemously. It offended him.

The guy on the other end of the phone from Phil, by the way, hung up. But then the next day he called back and asked Phil to explain what he meant. This led to a personal visit several weeks later and then a conversion and a baptism. Phil got in the battle by confronting the guy, and God took care of the rest. David got in the battle by confronting the guy, and God took care of the rest.

What can you do? Maybe you can prepare some responses in your mind ahead of time, gentle rejoinders that make a person think. Have some verses ready. Phil didn't know the man on the phone other than he was a voice on the other end of the phone. You don't have to get all seeker-sensitive and create a relationship for 5 years and then confront the guy over lattes. Confront, gently, but be stand up for God. Be offended!

The battle is the Lord's. But first we have to get IN the battle. The Israelites were all standing on the sidelines, either watching the defiance and cursing of our Holy God, or simply ignoring the defiance. It was when David took up his part in the battle that something happened.

The more Jesus is a treasure to you, the more you'll take umbrage when something blasphemous happens. Be ready with a word in reply, kindly, lovingly, but directly. David directly told the giant:
"This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand."
The battle is the Lord's. But are you willing to speak up for Him?

4 comments :

  1. Is your middle name Deborah? LOL. I am, I have and I will. J-L.

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  2. I love that story, Erin!
    I am sure we have all experienced something similar to Phil Robertson and I humbly want to share one of mine.
    At work, a young guy(early 20's) was hired and we were having a conversation one day and I asked him about his foreign accent. He told me where he was from and said he was a Greek Jew. Well, mention Jew and you open the floodgates with me.
    Over the course of a few weeks, I told him many things about the Lord Jesus and what his eternal future would be without Him because he said he was interested and wanted to know. During some of our conversations it became obvious he had a very troubled past and his future didn't look to bright either. One day we were having a conversation about something work related and he was upset and kept saying JC this and JC that and I just couldn't take it. I wasn't mean to him, I just told him that it really hurt me for him to talk about the One who died for me. He was very apologetic and was very sorry.
    One day after that, and a few more conversations, I asked him if he had a Bible and he said no. I asked him if he would like one and he said yes and I told him I would bring him one and he couldn't believe I would do that for him.
    Soon after that, he left work because someone said some harsh critical words to him and I have never seen him again.
    I prayed for him for a while but haven't lately. I guess I just needed a reminder.

    Pam

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    Replies
    1. Pam, that's a great testimony. I think one of the joys of praising the Lord's work in heaven will be to see how many of the Spirit-inspired seeds that were sown took root. I pray that the man's seed rooted and bore salvation.

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  3. 'He held His God in the highest esteem,'

    The HOLY SPIRIT highlighted those words especially! Not only would I like to use them in a post of my own BUT more importantly LIVE THEM!!

    Thank you, Elizabeth!

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