1 Samuel 22:3-23 – How You Doin’ Work When You Asking Where The Couch At?

Posted: March 24, 2018 in 09-1 Samuel
Tags: , , , , ,

1 Samuel 22:3-23
The Slaughter of the Priests

The thing that came to mind today is how each of may have to make a stand for Jesus one day. And when that time comes, how will we react? The reason that this idea has been weighing on my mind is because of a song and because of the radical change that Elena and I have recently made in our lives.

First, the song. As many of you know, I love Christian contemporary music. I particularly love Christian contemporary music that has a gutsy edge to it. For example, I love Jesus Culture. I love Elevation Worship. I was a Creed fan when they were still together. David Crowder is awesome. For King & Country is another of my list of faves. The Fray is another. Gungor is cool. Hillsong Worship/Hillsong United has some great stuff. Jars of Clay was a fave back in the day. Jordan Feliz is a new favorite. Kutless, LeCrae, Lifehouse, Need to Breathe, Royal Tailor, Skillet, Switchfoot, Thousand Foot Krutch, Zach Williams, all these artists are on my playlist. But today, I have been getting more and more into Toby Mac. Sure, he has some top 20 Christian hits that everybody knows but lately I have been exploring the songs that don’t get as much airplay on Christian contemporary stations. You know, the songs that weren’t selected to be released as radio songs. One of Toby’s that just has struck me lately is “To the Day I Die”. They lyrics go like this:

I’ll keep swingin’ for the fences
It’s like this heart is defenseless
Against the passion that’s pumpin’ through my veins
Blood, sweat, tears, it’s a callin’
And if I can’t walk, then I’m crawlin’
It might flicker, but they can’t kill the flame
I can’t stop I can’t quit
It’s in my heart It’s on my lips
I can’t stop, no I can’t quit
It’s in my heart, yeah I’m all in

‘Til the wheels fall off
‘Til the spotlight fades
I will lift your banner high
I will lift your banner high
And ’til the walls crash in
For the rest of my days
I’ll lay it all on the line
‘Til the day I die
‘Til the day I die
‘Til the end of the line
‘Til the day I die
It’s Your name I’ll glorify

It’s runnin’ deeper than the ocean
This ain’t religion, it’s devotion
Three, six, five every minute, everyday
So in the middle of the madness
They can stretch me out like canvas
But I ain’t ever gonna fit in their frame
I can’t stop I can’t quit
It’s in my heart It’s on my lips
I can’t stop, no I can’t quit
It’s in my heart, yeah I’m all in

‘Til the wheels fall off
‘Til the spotlight fades
I will lift your banner high
I will lift your banner high
And til the walls crash in
For the rest of my days
I’ll lay it all on the line
‘Til the day I
‘Til the day I die
‘Til the end of the line
‘Til the day I die
It’s Your name I’ll glorify

‘Til I die and they put me in the coffin
Don’t matter if I’m on the road or if I’m recordin’
Tell me what you think about me, that really ain’t important
You know I’mma represent um, I ain’t playin’, can’t afford to
I only got one life and I get it though
And this is not an act, not a movie, not a TV show
I don’t know what quittin’ means, I don’t ever take it slow
You know I’m on the grind, me and Toby in the studio
Do it for the King, what you know about that?
Say you goin’ harder, mmm I doubt that’

You say you doin’ work, but you’re asking where the couch at
How you doin’ work when you asking where the couch at?
God is not a crutch, you can use Him when you wanna
You only look to heaven when you goin’ through some drama
And when they goin’ through some problems and that’s the only time they call Him
I guess I don’t understand that life, wonder why ’cause I’m all in

‘Til the day I die
‘Til the wheels fall off
‘Til the spotlight fades
I will lift your banner high I will lift your banner high
And ’til the walls crash in
For the rest of my days
I’ll lay it all on the line
‘Til the day I (‘Til the day I)
‘Til the day I die
‘Til the day I
‘Til the day I die
‘Til the end of the line
‘Til the day I (’till the day I)
‘Til the day I, ’til the day, I fly
‘Til the day I die
‘Til the end of the line

Man, those are powerful words. I particularly am blown away where Toby says “You say you doin’ work, but you’re asking where the couch at! How you doin’ work when you asking where the couch at?” Those words sting hard when you think about how we serve God up to the point that it begins to hurt. Toby is asking the question as to whether we have the guts to serve God past the point of comfort – when it will really cost us something.

That got me to thinking too that some people have been patting me on the back for going into full-time vocational ministry. And, yes, I did sacrifice a secular career as a corporate financial executive that had been very good to me, my wife and our grown kids even. But even then, in the eyes of this question, how much have I sacrificed? I still have a roof over my head. I still have the ability to pay for that roof over my head. Sure, we no longer are going to be able to afford the luxuries that we once had back in South Carolina with my secular career (and my part-time service to my church there). But how much have we really sacrificed? Don’t get me wrong, I fully trust that the Lord will provide for us in miraculous ways at times going forward because we have chosen to follow Him into ministry full-time. But I have an office that’s beautiful in its simplicity. I have computer technology all at my disposal. I have an amazing senior pastor who is my boss but who also is just the most encouraging man I have ever met. I have a collection of coworkers, pastors, directors, and staff, that together could be a comedy troupe. Everyday at the office is full of laughter, sometimes to the point that you can’t breathe you are laughing so hard. It’s just a fun place to work. I am completely blessed that God saw fit to place me at this church with these people at this time in this place to accomplish His tasks for us.

But it got me to thinking, what if God calls me to further sacrifice one day such as being a permanent missionary in the field of a third world country or a country that is hostile to Christians. Will I be willing to forget “where the couch at”? Will I be willing to push it deeper. Or even less stark as that, what if there is an issue that comes up in life right here in the confines of the United States somewhere down the road that requires me to stand up for what is right rather than what is comfortable? Will I do it? Or will I ask “where the couch at”? Will I be willing to sacrifice it all to stand up against that which is evil in God’s eyes but that which is accepted as good by man? Will I be willing to push it to the day I die? Will I be willing to die for the cause of Christ? Will I be willing to stand up or will I sit on the couch and let evil flourish?

That’s what I thought of this morning as read through this disturbing passage, 1 Samuel 22:3-23. The question that plagued me was where were the men of courage in Israel? Why did no one say no to Saul when he ordered the deaths of 85 priests and their families? Edmund Burke once said, “”The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

I am reminded of World War II in Germany. There were very few who stood up to the evil of the Nazi Party and Adolph Hitler. Most Germans were content to let the evil flourish as long as they had all their comforts of life. They would rationalize away why they could do nothing to stop the insanity of the holocaust against Jews and any other enemies of the state. As long as they towed the line, they would be safe and they would maintain their comforts of life. That’s what I thought of this morning, where are the men of courage in this passage? Good men did nothing and allowed Saul’s evil to flourish. Let’s read it together now:

3 Later David went to Mizpeh in Moab, where he asked the king, “Please allow my father and mother to live here with you until I know what God is going to do for me.” 4 So David’s parents stayed in Moab with the king during the entire time David was living in his stronghold.

5 One day the prophet Gad told David, “Leave the stronghold and return to the land of Judah.” So David went to the forest of Hereth.

6 The news of his arrival in Judah soon reached Saul. At the time, the king was sitting beneath the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, holding his spear and surrounded by his officers.

7 “Listen here, you men of Benjamin!” Saul shouted to his officers when he heard the news. “Has that son of Jesse promised every one of you fields and vineyards? Has he promised to make you all generals and captains in his army?[a] 8 Is that why you have conspired against me? For not one of you told me when my own son made a solemn pact with the son of Jesse. You’re not even sorry for me. Think of it! My own son—encouraging him to kill me, as he is trying to do this very day!”

9 Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing there with Saul’s men, spoke up. “When I was at Nob,” he said, “I saw the son of Jesse talking to the priest, Ahimelech son of Ahitub. 10 Ahimelech consulted the Lord for him. Then he gave him food and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

11 King Saul immediately sent for Ahimelech and all his family, who served as priests at Nob. 12 When they arrived, Saul shouted at him, “Listen to me, you son of Ahitub!”

“What is it, my king?” Ahimelech asked.

13 “Why have you and the son of Jesse conspired against me?” Saul demanded. “Why did you give him food and a sword? Why have you consulted God for him? Why have you encouraged him to kill me, as he is trying to do this very day?”

14 “But sir,” Ahimelech replied, “is anyone among all your servants as faithful as David, your son-in-law? Why, he is the captain of your bodyguard and a highly honored member of your household! 15 This was certainly not the first time I had consulted God for him! May the king not accuse me and my family in this matter, for I knew nothing at all of any plot against you.”

16 “You will surely die, Ahimelech, along with your entire family!” the king shouted. 17 And he ordered his bodyguards, “Kill these priests of the Lord, for they are allies and conspirators with David! They knew he was running away from me, but they didn’t tell me!” But Saul’s men refused to kill the Lord’s priests.

18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You do it.” So Doeg the Edomite turned on them and killed them that day, eighty-five priests in all, still wearing their priestly garments. 19 Then he went to Nob, the town of the priests, and killed the priests’ families—men and women, children and babies—and all the cattle, donkeys, sheep, and goats.

20 Only Abiathar, one of the sons of Ahimelech, escaped and fled to David. 21 When he told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord, 22 David exclaimed, “I knew it! When I saw Doeg the Edomite there that day, I knew he was sure to tell Saul. Now I have caused the death of all your father’s family. 23 Stay here with me, and don’t be afraid. I will protect you with my own life, for the same person wants to kill us both.”

In this passage, we must ask the question, “Why did God allow 85 priests and their families to be killed for no other reason than to satisfy the whim of a madman?” Their deaths served to dramatize to the nation of Israel how their king had become an evil tyrant. Where were Saul’s advisers? Where were the elders of Israel? Evil flourished here because good men said nothing. Many of us expect that God’s blessings upon are wealth, success and health. We often do not expect that we must sacrifice our comfort zones to serve Him. We will serve God only but so far.

When it calls for us to give up our wealth, our comfort, and maybe even our health, we tend to shy away. When it comes down to it, will we serve God when it hurts? When it comes down to it, will we do more than go to church and say amen when the preacher preaches to us about being “all-in”? When it comes down to it, will we do more than attend nice little church functions while the world burns outside our doors? When it comes down to it, will we stand up against that which is evil but is now called good even if it costs us our comforts? When it comes down to it, will we follow Jesus beyond the comforts of our job and our home and our friends and our home entertainment systems? That’s not just some sermonizing to other people. That’s a question that plagues me personally. If I had to choose between comfort and Christ, will I shrink away to my couch? If with a gun to my head and if I do not deny Christ, the trigger gets pulled, what will I do? Less than that, if our country (which is headed that way) becomes more and more hostile toward Christianity and there comes a day when it will cost me my comfort, my freedom, will I take it to the max and fly Christ’s banner high or will I shrink away to the couch?

I pray for boldness for myself and for you, as a fellow Christ follower. Because the thing that I know is that none of us can do anything bold in the absence of Jesus Christ. Bravery is not the absence of fear. It is doing what needs to be done despite the fear. May we pray for boldness and bravery that comes only from Jesus Christ. May we be bold and brave when Jesus burns it in our heart to stand up against that which is evil and is being allowed to flourish because no one is speaking. May we be bold and brave when it counts. May we be bold and brave to cast aside our couches when and if God calls us to go beyond our comfort zone whether it being standing up against evil or giving up our creature comforts to follow where God calls us to go. May we be bold and brave through the power of Jesus Christ. May we have that first century Christian boldness where they put it all on the line until the wheels fell off, ’til the walls crashed in. May we have that first century boldness and braveness through Jesus Christ where we will lay it all on the line til the day we die. May we have that boldness to overcome our fears and lay it all on the line til the day we die.

Amen and Amen.

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