2 Samuel 4:1-12 (Part 1) – Fear That Cripples You From Doing What God Called You To Do!

Posted: May 24, 2018 in 10-2 Samuel
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2 Samuel 4:1-12 (Part 1 of 2)
The Murder of Ishbosheth

Have you ever had a dream that you are speaking in public and you start to speak and nothing comes out? Or you try to make a joke and you hear crickets in response? Or you forget everything you rehearsed once you set foot on stage?

For all of my frequent readers, you have read the story of how I came to be the administrative pastor at Calvary Church of The Quad Cities back in mid-February. It was the end of a long road of preparation for what God has had in store for me for many years. It was up to me to obey his call on my life and be patient, oh so patient, in the preparation process. Who knows what God will do with me here at Calvary. I am not sure of what it will look like one year from now, five years from now, a decade from now. It is only mine to obey and just follow the path that He has lit in front of my feet. I can do nothing else. I am all-in at this point. My cards have been played. We are simply trusting that God will take care of us and that He will use us as long as we are obedient and faithful.

There may be teaching and leading small groups, instructional groups, special purpose study groups, all of which I have done before. I am comfortable with those things. I am good at leading groups where there is interaction between the audience and you. I am a very social person. I love being with people. I love to make them laugh with my sophomoric 15 year old boy sense of humor and my storehouse of puns and corny jokes. But it is always in small settings where there is interaction. I have preached before in small churches in the rural parts of South Carolina that my dad served over the last 10 years of his long pastoral career. I have preached at a couple of churches during my biblical preaching class at seminary. Again, the churches were small-ish. However, even then, at these small churches, I was a slave to my scripted sermon. I was not the goofy, at-ease-in-a-crowd guy that I normally am. These sermons were passionately written each time and I could visualize in my head the proper level of passion in the delivery. On the days or evenings that these sermons were actually presented though, I felt like I was having a root canal without anesthesia. The public presentations of my sermons were never the way that I had imagined them in my mind. And I know that in order to ever become more than just the preacher that keeps the books of the church and manages all its administrative details, I gotta be able to be more at ease in front of large crowds where all eyes are on me. I keep saying to myself that it is only because I have not had enough real hands-on experience in public speaking and that I will get better with practice. Up to now, with the infrequent public speaking opportunities, my effectiveness in public speaking is frozen in fear.

My mind gets cluttered and the smooth flow of conversation that I had in my head goes away when all eyes are on me. Notes in my hand become a crutch and looking down at the notes becomes more frequent than looking up and out at the audience. I envy those that have conquered their stage fear. They may have it much like me but they have learned to handle it better than me. Maybe, it is because I have had too infrequent of opportunities to practice. However, my fear is that I just am just handicapped when it comes to public speaking. Odd fear to have if your passion is to become a preaching pastor, huh? I love writing about Jesus. I love writing about God. I love writing about Scripture. Some have said that I am pretty good at the written word about The Word. But be able to communicate my joy at God’s Word and the theology associated with it, I have been ineffective so far in my pursuit of preaching. The debilitating fear is right where Satan wants us. He wants us to think we cannot do something and particularly when it comes to leading people to a deeper understanding of a God who loves them. He wants me to be afraid. He wants me to shy away from publicly proclaiming the confidence of my soul in the Lord. He wants us to be insecure about speaking of the Lord in public as a preacher and even one on one about sharing the story of how we came to know Christ (what our lives were like before Jesus, our salvation experience, and our lives after accepting Jesus as our Savior and Lord). Satan wants us stifled in fear to the point that we shy away from doing what God has called us to do.

There is a meme floating around Facebook right now whose quote is attributed to Steven Furtick and the quote is “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” Satan wants us to compare ourselves to others who seem more polished. Satan wants us to fear failure. Satan wants us to quit before we even get started.

When I read today’s passage, 2 Samuel 4:1-12, that is what I thought of – how similar I am to Ishbosheth. He was debilitated by fear. He compared himself to Abner and came up wanting inside. He was defeated before he even started to reign as king of the northern tribes of Israel. He let his fears rule him to the point that he could not function. Let’s read this passage now with that thought in mind:

Chapter 4
1 When Ishbosheth,[a] Saul’s son, heard about Abner’s death at Hebron, he lost all courage, and all Israel became paralyzed with fear. 2 Now there were two brothers, Baanah and Recab, who were captains of Ishbosheth’s raiding parties. They were sons of Rimmon, a member of the tribe of Benjamin who lived in Beeroth. The town of Beeroth is now part of Benjamin’s territory 3 because the original people of Beeroth fled to Gittaim, where they still live as foreigners.

4 (Saul’s son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth,[b] who was crippled as a child. He was five years old when the report came from Jezreel that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle. When the child’s nurse heard the news, she picked him up and fled. But as she hurried away, she dropped him, and he became crippled.)

5 One day Recab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon from Beeroth, went to Ishbosheth’s house around noon as he was taking his midday rest. 6 The doorkeeper, who had been sifting wheat, became drowsy and fell asleep. So Recab and Baanah slipped past her.[c] 7 They went into the house and found Ishbosheth sleeping on his bed. They struck and killed him and cut off his head. Then, taking his head with them, they fled across the Jordan Valley[d] through the night. 8 When they arrived at Hebron, they presented Ishbosheth’s head to David. “Look!” they exclaimed to the king. “Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of your enemy Saul who tried to kill you. Today the Lord has given my lord the king revenge on Saul and his entire family!”

9 But David said to Recab and Baanah, “The Lord, who saves me from all my enemies, is my witness. 10 Someone once told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ thinking he was bringing me good news. But I seized him and killed him at Ziklag. That’s the reward I gave him for his news! 11 How much more should I reward evil men who have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed? Shouldn’t I hold you responsible for his blood and rid the earth of you?”

12 So David ordered his young men to kill them, and they did. They cut off their hands and feet and hung their bodies beside the pool in Hebron. Then they took Ishbosheth’s head and buried it in Abner’s tomb in Hebron.

In this passage, we see the demise of Ishbosheth. He was a man who took his courage from another man (Abner) instead of from God. When Abner died, Ishbosheth was left with nothing. In crisis and under pressure, he collapsed in fear. Fear can paralyze us but faith and trust in God can overcome fear (see 2 Timothy 1:6-8 and Hebrews 13:6). If we trust in God, we will be free to respond boldly to the events around us.

Maybe our fears are our indication that we know we cannot do anything without God’s help. Maybe we should quit trying to conquer our fears in our own power. I know that I have a fear of public speaking. Maybe, it’s because of inexperience. Maybe, it’s because I am trying to win under my own power. Maybe, I should just break down before the Lord and beg Him to take over and guide me in my attempts to speak publicly. Maybe, I should depend on Him more. Maybe, I should pray more. Maybe, I should quit comparing myself to others and rely on the Lord to pull me through. Maybe, the Lord wants me to rely on Him so that He can reveal my heart and my passion. Maybe, I should trust Him to give me the words I need to say.

Why am I writing about this? Well, this Sunday I have a small opportunity to speak publicly. In Sunday’s service, I will be doing the announcements from stage and praying over the offering, announcing the newest class of people that have made the decision to be members of our church, and so on. It will be my first opportunity to speak from stage on Sunday morning since I started as administrative pastor at Calvary three months ago. My senior pastor is pushing to have me become more publicly involved in pastoral duties. I pray that I do not let him down this coming Sunday. I do not want to be an ineffective pastor just as Ishbosheth was as king. He was debilitated by fear. I do want to become a publicly professing pastor of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to please my Lord who has put this calling on my life. I pray that I will just relax and let Him guide me. I pray that I will enunciate clearly and there will be a flow to what I say. I pray that it will seem natural as conversation among friends. I pray that my natural goofiness will come out and make me feel at ease. I know that there are bigger things to pray for in this world but I want to point people to Jesus even in my small role this Sunday. I pray that He will give me the strength to speak clearly and boldly and naturally. I covet your prayers as I take this first step in taking hold of this calling the Lord has placed on my life. I pray for showers of prayers from my friends and family members. I just want to make Jesus proud as I take this first step.

Amen and Amen.

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