01/19/T – Righteous, Humble and Wise

1 Chronicles 11:26-12:18; Acts 28:17-31; Psalms 9:13-18; Proverbs 3:33-35

OT: “Other Benjaminites and men from Judah also went to David at the stronghold. David went out to meet them and said to them, “If you have come in peace to help me, my heart will be united with you, but if you have come to betray me to my enemies even though my hands have done no wrong, may the God of our ancestors look on it and judge.” Then the Spirit enveloped Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said: We are yours, David, we are with you, son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to him who helps you, for your God helps you. So David received them and made them leaders of his troops.” (‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭12:16-18‬ ‭CSB)

There was a time in David’s life when he was between jobs and homeless. As a teenager, he was anointed to be the next King of Israel, and ascended the ranks in King Saul’s court. Saul, however, became threatened by David and sought to end his life – so David fled to the wilderness and spent a few years hiding out in caves and strongholds. He had a promise over his life and it looked like he was in position to receive that promise – but then the bottom fell out and he was homeless and without a job. He could have grown anxious and taken matters into his own hands – as many of us are prone to do, but he resisted the temptation to force the fulfillment of God’s promise. Instead, he trusted God to fulfill the promise in His way and timing. While he was in the wilderness, men from various areas of the nation began coming to him and placing themselves under his leadership. The more that Saul traversed down the path to unrighteous, the more men came and pledged their allegiance to David. The kingdom was divided along political lines, with the upper echelon loyal to Saul and the commoners and outcasts of the land defecting to David. On one occasion, a group of Benjamites came into his camp. Benjamin was the tribe of King Saul, and it would have been likely that these Benjamites were loyal to Saul and would turn David in. The thing that impressed me in this brief snippet of scripture was David’s attitude toward the Benjamites. He didn’t jump to conclusions and lean on his assumptions. He didn’t treat the Benjamites with prejudice or reject them as members of the “other party.” He didn’t blame them for his current circumstances. He opened himself up to unity and trusted God with the results. David gave them the benefit of the doubt and pledged to not treat them unrighteously – and if they were there to betray his trust… well, that was between them and the Lord. David’s humility and commitment to righteousness opened the door for trust and reconciliation between two tribes that were at odds with each other. Because he trusted the Lord and acted according to the Lord’s wisdom, the political divides in the nation were eventually healed and Israel became united under David’s leadership.

NT: “After arranging a day with him, many came to him at his lodging. From dawn to dusk he expounded and testified about the kingdom of God. He tried to persuade them about Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets. Some were persuaded by what he said, but others did not believe. Disagreeing among themselves, they began to leave after Paul made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah when he said, Go to these people and say: You will always be listening, but never understanding; and you will always be looking, but never perceiving. For the hearts of these people have grown callous, their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them. Therefore, let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”” (‭‭Acts‬ ‭28:23-28‬ ‭CSB)

Once Paul was settled in Rome, he asked for an audience with the local Jewish community. Paul wanted to explain his current situation, and many in the Jewish community were curious about “The Way” that was spreading across Eastern Europe and Asia. All day long, from dawn to dusk, Paul systematically proclaimed and explained the gospel of the Kingdom and how Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the fulfillment of scripture and the long-awaited Messiah. Some were open to believing the good news, while others were hardened in their categories and resistant to change. The sentence surrounding Paul’s quotation of Isaiah 6:9-10 is a little tricky. Some translations have Paul quoting the scripture after people began to leave. This translation makes it look like Paul’s quotation is what made them leave. However it went down, what Paul said was true. If we aren’t careful, we can become more committed to our traditions… more committed to the party line than the truth. Many times it is easier to live in a black and white world, where our beliefs and understanding are “right” and anything different is “wrong.” Though the Jews were listening to Paul with their ears and seeing Paul with their eyes, the rejected the Truth because it didn’t align with their strict and unyielding platform and policies. They were not willing to see that God was doing something different than what they expected. That is why it is so important to remain humble, keep our eyes ever on Christ and our ears tuned to His voice, lest we miss what He is doing because it doesn’t line up perfectly with our requirements.

Proverbs: “The Lord’s curse is on the household of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous; He mocks those who mock but gives grace to the humble. The wise will inherit honor, but he holds up fools to dishonor.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:33-35‬ ‭CSB)

The wicked, mocking and foolish verses the righteous, humble and wise. One receives grace from the Lord and one doesn’t. we often think of foolish as lacking sense, but the word for foolish here actually defines foolishness as arrogance. You can see that dichotomy between King Saul and David. King Saul was arrogant in the way he led – thinking his way to be better than God’s way, which developed into a mocking spirit, that ultimately became wickedness. Saul’s foolishness eventually brought division to his nation and ruin to his family. David, on the other hand, walked in wisdom because he walked in humility and was committed to righteousness. We can also see the dichotomy in the group of Jews that came to listen to Paul. Some humbled themselves to truly listen to the message of the gospel, while others walked away in arrogance. Those who humbled themselves and believed were able to experience the grace of God as they placed their faith in Christ, while the others remained bound to the law and enslaved to sin. Thousands of years ago, Moses said to the people of Israel, “I set before you a blessing and a curse.” Joshua said to the nation of Israel as they were about to settle in the land of promise, “Choose today who you will worship… who you will bow down before and serve wholeheartedly… who you will trust completely. As for me and my family, we will humble ourselves and serve the Lord.” Those words still ring true today. Do you want to be blessed and be a blessing? Don’t be arrogant. Humble yourself, keep your eyes and ears on Jesus and follow Him.

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