I LOVE it when I receive comments about something I preached, or taught, or said. I even appreciate comments when people disagree with me. They help keep my honest and humble because I then try to see an issue from a different point of view. Now, I may not end up agreeing with someone, but I am always better for thinking through it. One of the most “commented on” teachings of mine is that it is critical, for real emotional health, to “give up the right to get even.” I personally know of the tremendous freedom and power contained in that phrase, but I also fully experience how very difficult it can be. That is…when I try to do it on my own. The key is to completely trust God to settle accounts with those who have hurt me so that I can just get on with my life.
There’s an odd but fascinating story in 1 Samuel 25. It’s about a very beautiful and very smart woman named Abigail, and her husband, Nabal who, “was crude and mean in all his dealings.” (v. 3) It’s a story you must read to get all the nuances, but basically, David, before he was king, was with soldiers camped near Nabal’s sheep for a period of time. The soldiers didn’t act like normal soldiers who would take whatever they wanted, but they respected the sheepherders and helped protect the sheep from marauders.
When it was time for sheep shearing time, David sent a simple request. “When David heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep, he sent ten of his young men to Carmel with this message for Nabal: “Peace and prosperity to you, your family, and everything you own! I am told that it is sheep-shearing time. While your shepherds stayed among us near Carmel, we never harmed them, and nothing was ever stolen from them. Ask your own men, and they will tell you this is true. So would you be kind to us, since we have come at a time of celebration? Please share any provisions you might have on hand with us and with your friend David.” David’s young men gave this message to Nabal in David’s name, and they waited for a reply. (vv. 4-9)
“Mr. Mean Guy Nabal” did not respond well at all. We’re not clear on the words Nabal used, but his response sends David and his men marching toward Nabal with their swords, swearing to kill every last person. Not a good sign.
Abigail knows her husband is a bad guy, learns what has happened, and throws bread, meat, fig cakes, grain, raisins, and most anything she can find onto the backs of some donkeys and heads out to meet David to beg for the lives of everyone, including her own. (I’m telling you, read the story!)
Her plan works. And now my point: David gives up his right to get even and this happens…When Abigail arrived home, she found that Nabal was throwing a big party and was celebrating like a king. He was very drunk, so she didn’t tell him anything about her meeting with David until dawn the next day. In the morning when Nabal was sober, his wife told him what had happened. As a result he had a stroke, and he lay paralyzed on his bed like a stone. About ten days later, the LORD struck him, and he died. (vv. 36-38, NLT2) Oh and get this: David ends up marrying Abigail too! (It’s a feel good happy ending. Read it. Really.)
Now I’m not saying God always works this way, but the fact is that He can if He chooses. But that’s the point…when you and I give up the right to get even, we trust God to choose how to settle the score, because we are finally free from that burden. (Now THAT’S a real feel good story too!)
Pastor Rusty <><
MORE GOOD NEWS AND UPDATES:
Looking to get out of the house for a little bit? We currently have openings for volunteer receptionists for several shifts, both mornings (9am-12:30pm) and afternoons (12:30-4pm). Building traffic is slowly increasing and having receptionists to answer the phone is a GREAT help to our administrative staff! You may choose to serve every week or every other week. OR you might like to be a sub and serve when others are on vacation. Contact Administrative Assistant Lynda Preston at email@example.com or 317-359-9651, extension 131.
Message Notes for this Sunday are below.
April 11: Making Faith-Based Decisions
__________ _______________ is one of the most difficult tasks any of us ever perform because we cannot anticipate the unexpected.
Acts 1:20-23 Peter continued, "This was predicted in the book of Psalms, where it says, 'Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it.' And again, 'Let his position be given to someone else.' "So now we must choose another man to take Judas's place. It must be someone who has been with us all the time that we were with the Lord Jesus—from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us into heaven. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus' resurrection." So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.
THREE BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR MAKING GOOD DECISIONS:
Acts 1:24-25 Then they all prayed for the right man to be chosen. "O Lord," they said, "you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas the traitor in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs."
Principle 1: ___________ FOR GOD’S GUIDANCE
The apostles had learned through the resurrection that God’s power is always bigger than their ability to perceive it. What they thought _____________, God did miraculously.
Acts 1:26a Then they cast lots, and in this way Matthias was chosen...
Principle 2: _________ ON GOD’S PROMPTING
The apostles ____________ to fill the vacancy, and came up with two possible replacements. Neither choice was a bad one because they had done the ________ __________ of finding and qualifying them.
Theodore Roosevelt: “In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the __________ thing, the next best thing is the ___________ thing, and the worst thing you can do is ___________.”
Acts 1:26b … Matthias was chosen and became an apostle with the other eleven.
Principle 3: ___________ GOD’S AGENDA
Do we pray for ____ to get onto our agenda, or do we pray that ___ get onto God’s agenda?
Decisions are difficult because we do not know the _____________—so doesn’t it makes sense to trust the One who does?
Biblical Formula for Decision-Making:
P __ __ __
A __ __
T __ __ __ __
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Let God... - from Pastor Rusty