August 24, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by James Kim, Gracepoint Berkeley

2 Samuel 8:1-15

In light of David’s many victories and the growing blessings in his life with wealth, position, and fame, what is inspiring about David’s response to these blessings and how he continued “doing what was just and right for all his people” (vs. 15)? David didn’t let the victories that he had get to his head.  It’s inspiring that through all the good things that happened, he didn’t take that and attribute it to his own abilities, to his own skills.  He didn’t take all the good things that were happening and let that heap up as a pile of ego for him to feel good about himself.  He made it clear to himself that it was the Lord that brought him victory wherever he went.  And I believe that is what kept him doing what was just and right for all his people.  It wasn’t about mounting for himself a kingdom.  When people are so prone to give themselves glory for the good things that come as a result of the work that they do, it’s inspiring that David kept that perspective throughout his victories, position and fame.  All of those things came to him, and I think in a way God could entrust those things to David because he had the character to not let it get to his head.

What is the significance of David dedicating all the plunder and treasures he had acquired to the LORD? The significance of David dedicating all the plunder and treasures he had acquired to the Lord is that he understood very well that it was all the Lord’s doing that he would have such success.  He dedicated it to the Lord acknowledging that God would do as he would, and that it was not anything of his own doing or anything of his own merit that would bring such blessing.

What are the “plunder” and “articles of silver and gold and bronze” in my life that I need to dedicate to the LORD?  What does this mean for me practically? I think this is perfectly appropriate for me today.  We’ve been doing a lot of flyering and outreach this week.  We had 72 signups at our BBQ last Sunday, which was move-in day for the dorms at UC Berkeley.  Monday, we had 63 signups at our events.  Just yesterday, for 2 events, we had about 97 people come to our boardgame time, and over 50 for our Frisbee time.  I heard that yesterday’s Klesis BBQ had over 140 people.  I’m floored by the people who are coming to our events.  Our seniors are running the show for the most part, taking the planning documents that we’ve prepared and running with it (with some guidance, of course).

These are the blessings that I KNOW that isn’t because of anything that I or we are.  My heart is so moved when I think about the ways that God is using what we’re bringing to him.  And I dedicate these things up to him.

What that means to me practically is I commit to stewarding these blessings that I’ve been handed.  It means I commit to putting in the time and energy, heart, mind and soul to loving the people that God is tasking me to love and care for.  It means that I promise to be faithful and responsible over the seniors that I am to raise and lead to minister to others.

And I dedicate tonight’s Fall Welcome Night to God as well. What that means is surrendering whatever happens tonight.  If many people come, then that is glory to God.  If nobody comes, then we keep pushing to reach people, to bring them the good news.  Either way, dedicating to God the opportunities that I have leaves no room for pride or insecurity.

2 Samuel 8:14-15

“This chapter illustrates that God is faithful to his Word and strengthens his servants for the task to which he has called them. So what can it mean for today’s believers to have victory wherever we go? It means that God has already won the victory and has promised to strengthen us for the tasks we are called to perform in the church and in the world. As David defeated Israel’s enemies, so today’s believers can expect to accomplish successfully our God-given and God-ordained tasks, with the help of the Holy Spirit. This catalogue of military victories should inspire confidence in all believers that God is at work fulfilling his Word through his people.”[1]

In what sense is the statement “The Lord gave […] victory wherever he went” true of my life? God has given me victory wherever I’ve been.  That doesn’t translate to a life filled with successes, necessarily.  There have been many ups and downs in my life.  There have been times when God was doing great things through me, touching people, ministering to people, bringing them closer to him, and teaching me of his faithfulness through small steps of obedience.  But there have clearly been times of drought and desert experiences in my life personally, when I came to see that I’m not all that I thought I was.  And furthermore, times when I saw exactly who I am, and God’s grace that I was horrified at it.  But in all of those times the Lord gave me victory because through the successes in ministry, or the painful times of deeper self-understanding of my ego and pride, my anger and offensive ways toward God and others, God was molding me, teaching me, exhorting me, challenging me, correcting and rebuking me… all of that if it means my heart and/or the hearts of others being increasingly directed toward Him translates to victory.  He has been faithful through his word, and through the people in my life.  Pastor Ed and Kelly smn.  Pastor Will and Esther nn… Rick hy and Sue nn, Tony hy and Michelle nn… pastor Joong… the people I’ve ministered to, also, being that hedge of protection for me to be faithful and keep going. And of course my wife and my friends…

Has my response been “doing what is right and just” for the God-given tasks in my life?

I can’t say that I’ve always proven faithful.  But God has brought me a long ways through small steps of obedience.  College ministry, worship ministry, praxis ministry, youth ministry, and now to start this new group with the seniors as Kairos.  That short list is over the span of 12 years. I’m at a point where I see the opportunities that God has given me, and I strive to do what is right and just for the people that God has entrusted to me.  That striving doesn’t mean I’m always making the right decisions… so I pray for wisdom and discernment, and I get a lot of help and advice from my leaders who have paved the way ahead of me.  I can say with confidence that I’m doing what I’m doing because I believe it is right and just, rather than for those other ulterior motives, simply because the rewards from those ulterior motives  simply isn’t worth the amount of work that I have to put in… In an odd way, that’s a comforting thought.

2 Samuel 8:16-18

What is the significance of the list of the people in vv.16-18 after stating that David had many victories? David knew that he wasn’t by himself.  He wasn’t the superman that made everything happen.  He was among the people of God, a team of people who God worked through.  It’s significant that he recognized that because he wasn’t somebody who assumed it was all because of his leadership.

With what we’re experiencing during welcome week so far, that is so blaringly obvious to me.  I’m a small, small part of the team, the army of people that are doing this thing together.  I walked in the MPR at North Loop last night, and there were tables lined up with trays laid out on them, waiting to be filled with food.  People were planning everywhere after midnight getting ready for tonight and tomorrow night, as we have our welcome nights.  Ray is organizing the entire welcome night, and has been asking for review and feedback for weeks now. Chris is laboring on that video to communicate what Kairos and Klesis are about.  I’ve gotten so much advice and direction from Suzanne and Sue, Pastor Ed and Kelly smn, pastor Joong and Susanna smn about everything that we’re doing.  Tony hy is mobilizing the army of Praxis members helping out in so many ways.  And the senior helpers are out there on the front lines, meeting people, inviting people, engaging in conversations… all for the same effort.  What victories we’ve had already, and whatever victories may come, what’s very clear is God working through this community that I have the privilege to witness and participate with.

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you, or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel.” Phil 1:27

PERSONAL PRAYER

God, I dedicate all the opportunities that you give me.  The people that you’ve been bringing to our events who need to know you, the people who want to find a church, the seniors who want to minister to others… I dedicate all of them to you, and promise to steward well the responsibility to love and care for them.  I dedicate tonight to you such that whatever happens, I will give you glory and engage in the labor of love and ministry you set before me.  God please use what we bring to you to communicate your saving gospel.

 

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