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An Unlikely Candidate

 

by Grace Bellingham.

“…If the Lord has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. But if it is the children of men, may they be cursed before the Lord, for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, ‘go, serve other gods!’”

1 Samuel 26:19

Isn’t it wonderful to know that God has made all the provision necessary for us to find forgiveness and restoration as often as we need it? No wonder we all love Him so much. For that matter, who can resist anyone with such a big heart? Christian, God wants you to know that He is committed to using you and raising you up to serve Him mightily. And it matters not how many times you have failed or what you have been through. He not only can, but wants to forgive you and get you back on track. He has chosen you, and that settles it. God’s choices are final, and the Scriptures continually teach us that they can’t be added to or subtracted from by man, so take heart; He isn’t finished with you yet. Isn’t it wonderful to know that God made all of His plans from the beginning and that they stand firm because nothing takes Him by surprise? The Scriptures tell us that God made choices regarding each one of us before the world had even begun. That’s a long time ago. It also tells us that what God speaks cannot be reversed; it will accomplish the end to which it was sent. When God chooses a man or a woman for a specific purpose, He intends for them to fulfill His desire no matter what. The Bible says it like this: “The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).

The difficulty comes when we see with the eyes of flesh when we should be listening to that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. I’m sorry to say that far too often the flesh rules over the spirit, and we make our judgments according to what we think we see and, even worse, how we feel.

From the beginning of time man has had difficulty with the choices of God. In the Garden of Eden Cain did not approve of God’s choice to honor Abel, and killed him. Lot denied the evident leadership of God in choosing Abraham as His servant and ended up moving his family to Sodom, and you and I both know the end of that story. Esau defied God’s choice of Jacob and went out of his way to try to kill him. The sons of Korah defied the hand of God upon Moses, and the ground opened up and swallowed every one of them including women and children. God sent His prophet Samuel to anoint David king of Israel; he was God’s choice. Almost from that moment people began to turn on him—his brothers, King Saul, his wife, his son, the captain of his army, and for a while a large portion of his kingdom, and they were all wrong. God had chosen him, and he would do what God had appointed him to do, regardless.

In the New Testament we see the same. Paul was a man chosen ‘out of due season’ (1 Cor. 15:8), a persecutor of the church of Jesus Christ; lots of people had a problem with him and refused to walk with him. All of his churches and the leaders he had raised up turned their back on him when he was hauled off to jail and accused, and very few stood with him at his death. The ultimate, of course, was the rejection of the Messiah. The Jews had waited expectantly for Him for 1,800 years. When He came they chose not to believe in the face of the greatest miracles that any one of them had ever imagined. They denied God’s choice for a Messiah and screamed out in the face of God that it wasn’t as they had imagined it, so they crucified the Son of God.

I have been born again for forty-one years, and one of the greatest sorrows of my heart as a servant of the Most High God is how the evil one has crept into our precious churches and filled the hearts of men and women with criticism and ungodly judgment in the name of righteousness, not giving enough consideration to the tremendous principles in the Word of God about His right to choose and use who He wishes, and how dangerous it is to touch His anointed. James the brother of Jesus Christ must have done some criticizing of his own of the Messiah of God (I can just imagine; I have three brothers and two sisters). I surmise this because of the evident lessons he learned when I read, “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?” (James 4:11). He also said, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell” (3:6). James had evidently learned some major lessons about keeping his opinions to himself and following the leadership of the Holy Spirit instead.

My heart breaks for the untold numbers of men and women of God whom I have seen publicly crucified because someone somewhere decided they would help God. Too often their accusers were not satisfied with just pointing out their frailties but went so far in their self-righteous presumption to publicly attack them for the distinct purpose of destroying their God-given ministries. Peter said, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins’” (1 Pet 4:8). David cried out to Saul about his continual persecution of him, saying that if God was the one who stirred him up against him, then by all means allow him to sacrifice before God for the crime committed. But if Saul’s flesh had been stirred up against him to prove some kind of point, then he cried out to God that he be cursed before God because he presumed to drive him from the inheritance of God (1 Sam. 26:19).

When we presume to know better and disregard the principles of the Word of God, whether it stems from what we think we know or what we may in fact know, I suggest that we, in humility before the only Wise Judge of all, leave it alone and say with Gamaliel, when the disciples were being accused before the council, “…take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men…for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God” (Acts 5:35,38,39). We tend to fight what we don’t believe in, and this is very dangerous, because His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. And what is worse, we attack God’s choices to relieve the frustration of not having resolved old offenses. Ezekiel has this to say about that error: “Thus says the Lord God: ‘Because the Philistines dealt vengefully and took vengeance with a spiteful heart, to destroy because of the old hatred…’ (Ezek. 25:15). Offenses unresolved in God are dangerous ground to leave unattended. Christian, beware of your motives. Perhaps the best thing to do when we aren’t sure of ourselves is nothing—watch and see what happens. By doing so we allow God to be God, honoring Him and His right to do as He pleases. Sooner or later the truth will come out, God’s hand will be seen, and that one that you’re so sure was wrong may yet be proven to be the servant of God with whom God was not finished. Either way, we will have pursued love, and this is always the best course to follow. Paul said to the church in Rome, “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand” (Romans 14:3). I’ll say it again, watch, not in unbelief, but in faith because you believe in a good God whose love never fails and who will yet show himself strong on behalf of His chosen who cry out to Him.

David’s heart was broken because he had been so mistreated by those who should have embraced him. This is why he spoke of himself as being “driven…out” (1 Sam. 26:19) from his right to “abide in the inheritance of the Lord.” His critics hadn’t even given him his basic rights. The Law Covenant made ample provision for confession and restoration, and yet David’s enemies took all that away from him and left him without an honorable resolve. This was his complaint, and this is what God heard.

An objective observer can’t help but conclude that his critics had ulterior motives. They weren’t concerned with showing David the right way. Restoration wasn’t on their hearts; his destruction was. They were out to get him, and they used his faults as the license they needed to do so. That was 3,000 years ago. Isn’t it amazing how people don’t change, because this is still happening today? It isn’t Christian not to be in the forgiving, saving, healing, delivering business. These should be our chief aim for everyone. No one should be turned aside. Everyone should be given the opportunity to repent, be restored, and given their rightful place of honor in the Kingdom. To believe and practice otherwise is contrary to the Christian message. God help us all to embrace one another in love, and that includes those unlikely candidates that we don’t think deserve to be forgiven and restored.

Jesus taught us how to love; He removed the swords from our hands within the church and armed us with full armor for the battle that is raging without. Fight the devil, Christian, not each other, and not the anointed, called men and women whom God sent to lead us in this fight for the souls of men. God’s chosen messengers stand in the hand of Jesus Christ, receiving the messages for their congregations that will assure the furtherance of God’s Kingdom and the empowering of His people; they have been targeted by satan to be destroyed, and we as children of God must do everything in our power and beyond to not only protect them but also go out of our way to bless them and pray for them. It is time for us to realize that Jesus wasn’t just being dramatic when He said, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force” (Matt. 11:12). Choose you this day on which side you will fight and whom you will serve.

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