Today we will look at the time leading up to David's battle with Absalom. I want to go back and go through II Samuel 15, 16 and 17 from another angle.
Last week we saw the Lord's discipline in David's life and noticed that, as Scripture says, "As a man sows, that very thing he shall also reap." We saw this happen to David. David, in exercising his office as God's king, hid his own sin, never punished Amnon for raping his step-sister Tamar, and never really punished Absalom who murdered Amnon. Absalom used this injustice and partiality in the land to raise up the tribes of Israel who had never been exactly joined anyway. They each had their own little political football they kicked around and no real allegiance to David of Bethlehem of Judah who came out of Hebron down in Judah. The tribes were extremely splintered and only lasted one generation as a "nation." We will see later on they were still splintered under David. In creating a strong centralized government in Jerusalem, David deprived them of their individual independence, and all they needed was an excuse such as David's injustices to become isolated, insulated and individual tribes again. By the way, this gives you some concept of Solomon's prayer with it's cry for wisdom.
In I Kings 3, when Solomon was made king, he was quite a young man. God appeared to him in a dream and asked him what he would like. Solomon in verses 6-9 of I Kings 3 said:
Then Solomon said, "Thou hast shown great lovingkindness to Thy servant David my father, according as he walked before Thee in truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart toward Thee; and Thou hast reserved for him this great lovingkindness, that Thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord my God, Thou hast made Thy servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Thy servant is in the midst of Thy people which Thou hast chosen, a great people who cannot be numbered or counted for multitudes. So give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Thine?"
Solomon watched his father's failure in his major role as the judge of Israel in the place of the Lord. So Solomon prays that he might not follow in David's footsteps, and, because of this prayer, God gave him wisdom beyond anyone before or after. Then, too, because he didn't ask for long life, riches, power or control of his enemies, God gave all of these to him also. He gave him the greatest reign in all of Israel's history. The tragedy, of course, is that Solomon did follow after David in one area, sex, lust. Where David had 10 wives and unnumbered concubines, I Kings 11 tells us Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. He married pagans, which was not allowed to a Jew. These pagan women brought their gods with them, and Solomon built temples for their gods on "the mountain east of Jerusalem." Scripture says the gods of his wives stole the heart of Solomon away from the Lord, the God of Israel, Yahweh, and he became a tyrant. At the end of his reign Solomon was not a beloved king ruling wisely but a tyrant living in sumptuous luxury with a vast army and political alliances with all kinds of pagans. God said to him, "Even though you deserve it, I will not tear the kingdom away in your day for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son." Solomon was a big man on campus, his wisdom worshipped by kings of all the earth. "And all the earth was seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart." The Queen of Sheba came that great great distance from Sheba just to sit at his feet.
When Solomon died and Rehoboam came to the throne, he displayed the same pride of heart that affected Solomon. When the elder counselors came to him and said, "If you will be a servant to this people today, will serve them, grant them their petition, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever." [I Kings 12:7] But the young Turks he grew up with, who were also proud, said, "You go out and tell them, 'My little finger is thicker than my father's loins... My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.' I'll show you who is boss around here." Rehoboam listened to the young Turks, went out and said those words, and, sure enough, the ten northern tribes said, "What have we to do with you, O son of Jesse," and broke away. From that time on, the nation was divided, and it never again came back together.
The ruler raised up by God for the ten northern tribes was an idolater. To prevent the people from offering sacrifices in Jerusalem in the territory of Judah and Benjamin, the two tribes that had continued loyal to Rehoboam, he created two golden calves and placed one at the southern border of Israel (Bethel) and one at the northern border of Israel in Dan. He said, "These are your gods, oh Israelites," and he led them into idolatry. In all their history, they never had one godly king. They were carried into captivity 225 or 250 years later, about 725 B.C.
The two southern tribes stayed a little closer to Yahweh because they had the temple there in Jerusalem, but they, too, went down the tube and were taken into captivity in 600 B.C.
The nation of Israel had one king and one generation of a really united kingdom. My friends, we sow seeds that go a long way. Solomon, with his eyes on David's failure to reign in justice, prayed for that, but he liked his dad's harem. He dealt with the area of his life that was an obvious problem in his father's life, but he didn't deal with the other areas, and it destroyed him.
Now along with the discipline of God goes the grace of God. Paul talks in Romans 11 about the severity of God and the goodness of God. The severity of God in the context of Romans 11 is His rejection of the nation of Israel for a time. Of all the nations of the earth, they were chosen by God to be a light unto the Gentiles. It was not because they were bigger or better than any other people but because God had a purpose for them. In the Old Testament, in a sense, God incarnated himself in a nation, the nation of Israel. It was a theocracy. God was King ruler, and he wanted to live his life through this nation. All His rules and regulations were designed to show the godliness of God and the grace of god. There was the law that couldn't be kept and at the same time the sacrifice that covered the violation of that law, the severity of God and the goodness of God. Israel was to manifest God for the Gentiles, but they wouldn't do it. "We're the chosen people," they said, and they were, "And you are dogs." They didn't use the word for puppy dog either but the word for mangy cur. God, in His severity, set them aside temporarily when they crucified the Messiah. They will not be taken back into God's purpose "until the times of the Gentiles is fulfilled," the start of the Tribulation. 2,000 years have gone by, and we see Gentiles leading Jews to Christ instead of Jews leading Gentiles to Christ.
The goodness of God was in taking the Gentiles, who had nothing to offer God at all, who were living in the utmost filth and paganism in black darkness, and unnaturally grafting them into the olive tree of God's patriarchs. You cannot graft a wild olive branch into a domestic olive tree and make it work, but God did. He took the wild olive branch of the Gentiles and grafted it into the domestic olive tree, all the promises and covenants which rested on Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For two thousand years the Gentiles have been the way God has been reaching Jews. This is the grace of God.
All right, so David gets disciplined, and his own son rises up in rebellion and chases him out of town. That is the severity of God. Now we want to look at the faithfulness or the grace of God. We are going to trace it through 15, 16 & 17.
David is being chased out of town and Absalom has initiated a rebellion in Hebron in Judah, David's own tribe. As we have mentioned, apparently they were annoyed with David when he moved the kingdom headquarters with all it perks and prerogatives out of Hebron and up to Jerusalem. So, Hebron, where David first reigned, is where Absalom takes over. It is only 20 miles from Jerusalem, and Absalom is moving out. David, an old warrior, knows you don't stay in cities and get trapped; you get out in the country where you can conduct hit and run warfare, where you can flee it you have to. Out there you can attack on your own terms.
II Samuel 15:15;
Then the king's servants said to the king, "Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king chooses." So the king went out and all his household with him. But the king left ten concubines to keep the house. [They will come into focus later. They fulfill a prophecy of God.] And the king went out and all the people with him, and they stopped at the last house. Now all his servants passed on beside him, all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had come with him from Gath, passed on before the king. Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, "Why will you also go with us? Return and remain with the king, [his son Absalom] for you are a foreigner and also an exile; [He's a Gittite. He's from Gath. He's a Philistine] return to your own place. You came only yesterday, [He apparently joined David just recently] and shall I today make you wander with us, while I go where I will? Return and take back your brothers; mercy and truth be with you." But Ittai answered the king and said, "As the Lord [Yahweh] lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be."
This is not a palace revolution as most of them were. Instead all of David's servants hang in there. All the major leaders of the government, all the people that know David best and know his failures best, hang in there with him. They are not staying to make points. They would be better off with Absalom who is winning. That's where the patronage will be. There will be no patronage with David in the wilderness. Yet God has the major men of Israel stay with David, and intriguingly enough the Cherethites and the Pelethites, who were originally pagans, have become David's most loyal followers, his private bodyguard.
They could be likened to the Praetorian Guard, the palace guard of the Roman Emperors who were choice young men chosen from families of nobility. These men were awarded very special privileges. They received double the pay of anyone else. They guarded the Emperor himself. They only served 14 years and then received a pension. They had quite a large alumni association right there in Rome, which proved their undoing, by the way. They began to exert political clout. Yes, Rome had its legions all over the world, but united right there in town were thousands of retired highly skilled, highly trained, highly paid men, plus the existing Praetorian Guard, and pretty soon they took over, buying and selling the Emperorship.
The Cherethites and the Pelethites don't do that. Originally they were pagan Philistines, yet there is something about David that has brought them into a love relationship with him. When the chips are down, when they have everything to lose, they go with David. They are not an insignificant force either. They even have their own general, Ziba. Later they were able to defend David's position when he had Solomon declared king and Adonijah, together with Joab and Abiathar the high priest, tried to usurp the throne. Mind you these were men whose lifestyle and economy had been based on war. They had survived by taking from the Israelites. They did not cultivate themselves. They just moved in year after year and usurped the harvested and prepared grain the Israelites had grown, threshed and prepared. They wouldn't give the Israelites swords, but they did sharpened their ploughshares and pruning hooks to keep them busy cultivating for the next harvest. Remember when David was fleeing from Saul and flew to the Philistines. All the malcontents began to gather to David plus all the mighty men who were upset with Saul, and he wound up with six hundred vicious, tough, guerrilla warriors. Remember when he moved to Ziklag and, because these men worked for pay, raided all the nations down there, the Amalekites and the others on the borders. They slaughtered whole towns, leaving nobody alive, not even babies, so they could not be traced. They would come back into Ziklag, give their tithe, or their offering of the loot, to their king Achish of Gath and tell him they had been raiding only Judah and making themselves odious to Saul. It is this same bunch, a bunch of robbers, who have stuck with David through the years and have become a consolidated band, that stays with David now when there is no booty. In fact they are actually leaving the booty behind when they remain with David.
Also there is a man named Ittai of the Gittites, a general, who will rank equally with Joab and Abishai in David's defeat of Absalom. He is an experienced Philistine general from Gath. He is a Gittite. He talks to David about, "As Yahweh lives," and "As my lord the king lives." He has adopted David's God and David's lordship, but he adopted David's God first, "I'll stick with you even if it costs me my life, and so will all my men."
What is there about David that attracts these kind of people and holds them? They are not collecting any booty now, my friend. This is the other side of David. Yes, he is a tough little monkey, bloodthirsty, vindictive, mean and proud. This is the outward David. But what is there about his heart that locks men of this caliber to him unto death? What is the real basic desire of his heart? He blows all over the place, true, but what is the one real thing David wants to do? His whole life can be characterized by it. He wants to please Jehovah. He really loves his God. Now, many time he doesn't understand how to operate out of the life and strength of God, but David always, in every instance, loves his God. These men have never seen a God like this. They have never seen a man, a king, have a love affair with his God. Their gods are vicious and have to constantly be placated. These men were never sure where they stood with their gods.
It is scary to have other gods. You don't sleep at night. You are always wondering, "Have I tread on some taboo? Did I do the right number of offerings? Does he like this?" You are never safe. You are never secure. You are never at rest. Yahweh is a God who says, "This is my righteousness. This is my severity. This is the law that I insist that you adhere to, 'Be ye holy for I am holy,' but here is the sacrificial system that will cover your sins when you fail to honor my law. I will make provision both for my holiness and for my law because I want you to have a love affair with Me, even in your flawed and fallen state. I'm not talking upstairs someday either but right down here." David caught that 3,000 years ago. His Psalms reflect a love affair with his God. These young men have never seen that in their whole lives. They were attracted to David in the beginning, but they remained with him not for what they could get out of him but because of what they see in him. It is intriguing that a Philistine general leaves his own country and all the rank he has and even takes quite a few of his men with him because Yahweh lives. He lives in Israel. Do you see what God is doing? He is quietly separating the wheat from the chaff. He is giving David a hard core group of men who are actually devoted to Yahweh, and incidentally are one of the finest fighting groups in the whole world.
Poor Absalom is out there in left field. He is attacking God's anointed. David has never ceased to be God's anointed. God chose David. David didn't choose God. God's gifts and calling are irrevocable. They are not based upon performance, yours or David's. Yes, He chastens David when he performs badly, but his gifts and calling are irrevocable. When Absalom takes on God's anointed he is taking on Yahweh.
So God quietly selects the best warriors, all the fighting generals, all the toughest fighters and gives them to David. Absalom has a great mob, sure, but they are undisciplined, untrained and don't know what they are doing. All they know is they don't care for David and his present system. Eventually they will end up being butchered.
Then something else, verse 24:
II Samuel 15:24:
Now behold, Zadok also came, and all the Levites with him carrying the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God, and Abiathar [the other high priest] came up until all the people had finished passing from the city [They were leaving the city and climbing the Mt of Olives on the way out of town] And the king said to Zadok, "Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the Lord, then He will bring me back again, and show me both it and His habitation. But if He should say thus, 'I have no delight in you,' behold, here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him."
For the good of the people, David believes the ark of the covenant must remain in Jerusalem. He puts the worship of God and the good of the people above his own political rivalry, and he casts himself on the mercy of God. He sees this as God's discipline. So he says, "Whatever He wants is O.K. with me, but I am not going to use God to help me. I am not going to bring the ark with me as we did once before with the Philistines. Leave His ark in Jerusalem. If God wants me He'll find me and let Him do to me as seems good to Him."
Do you see anything missing here? When God begins to discipline us, what is the first thing that happens? We not only rationalize and justify, but we get mad don't we? We get angry. What does David do? He justifies God. "Whatever God wants is O.K. with me. If he wants me back, I'll come back. If he doesn't want me, I'm here. Let him do with me what he wants." Conspicuous by its absence is any hint of rationalization for his own sin, of justification of himself versus God, of anger against God. I think right here is where David won the battle. It wasn't with his coterie. It was right here. He put himself on Yahweh's side. He gave himself to Yahweh for whatever Yahweh had in mind for him. That was a man after God's own heart, not Absalom.
So he sends the priests back to Jerusalem with the ark. In verse 30 he ascends the Mount of Olives and acts as a penitent. This is the king of Israel, now, barefoot, weeping and with covered hear, a sign of grief and mourning. He deliberately humiliates himself before his God and in front of all his men.
And then II Samuel 15:31
Now someone told David, saying, "Ahithophel [That is his counselor who counsels so wisely that his counsel is counted as the "counsel of God" it says a little bit later on] is among the conspirators with Absalom." And David said, "O LORD, I pray, make the counsel of Ahithophel foolishness."
So here he is being chased out of town by his own son and at the same time learns that his chief advisor is determined to destroy him. This is a man who was so godly that his counsel was as if God himself spoke, but also, unfortunately, was grandfather of Bathsheba. David is not coming out the other side after winning a battle now. He is going away from God, away from his kingdom, being chased out of town with his tail between his legs and by God's permission yet. That he knows. So what do we see about his relationship with God?
Comment from Class: He can still turn to Him in his time of need.
Bob's Response: Sure! Nothing has happened to his relationship with God has it? Ever noticed in your life that when God disciplines you it doesn't shut off the relationship. In the midst of your testing, your trials, your tribulations, God wants you to call upon him. God says in I Cor 10, "There is no temptation overtaken you [or testing is the word literally] but such as is common to man and God is faithful [not you or me] not to let you be tested but that which you are able to bear, but with every testing God will provide a way of escape that you might be able to go through it". Sure God will discipline us, and we deserve it. We need it to grow in Christ, but God says, "I will take you through it. You are going to be victorious because I am going to take you through it." Therefore he says in Philippians 4, "Don't ever be anxious about anything [Literally in the original it means "Don't worry yourself sick about anything] but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving [Because you know God is going to take you through it] let your requests be made know to God and the peace of God which passeth all understanding [all comprehension] shall guard your heart and mind [Military term. Shall garrison your heart and mind about with a wall of soldiers] in Christ Jesus." And David understands this. While he is being chased out of town with his tail between his legs, he calls upon God, "O God help me."
And God moves pretty fast II Samuel 15:32:
It happened as David was coming to the summit, where God was worshipped, that behold, Hushai the Archite [This is a friend of David's. The word "friend" has not the idea of a pal, but the personal privy-counselor of the king, the one who shares his most intimate secrets, an elder of Israel, an old man, an extremely wise man, and the one fellow who can put Ahithophel's counsel to flight. And it just so happens that he comes along just after David cries out for help. What a coincidence.] met him with his coat torn, [He's in deepest mourning] and dust on his head. And David said to him, "If you pass over with me, then you will be a burden to me. But if you return to the city, and say to Absalom, 'I will be your servant, O king, as I have been your father's servant in time past, so I will now be your servant,' then you can thwart the counsel of Ahithophel for me."
And David says, "By the way, Zadok's sons are available to you to bring messages to me."
The flesh and the spirit are always at war, and David shifts back and forth. While he has just talked to God, he is also human, and he is scared. Even when Hushai, sent by God, shows up right off the bat, David still decides God needs a little help. "Hushai, since we have to move fast, and you're too old to run with me, you'd be a burden, you go on back to my son Absalom, lie to him, say you are on his side, and that way you can thwart Ahithophel's counsel."
Next God confronts David with two unfriendly men who are also used to strengthen him. First is a deceitful man Ziba, servant of Jonathan's crippled son Mephibosheth. As David passes a little beyond the summit of the Mount of Olives he is met by Ziba with a couple of donkeys laden with food and drink, exactly what God sends them to sustain their strength on their long journey across the Jordan River. Ziba stole it from his master; he lifted it right out from under the pregnant women of the household. David asks him, "Where is your master Mephibosheth?" Ziba deliberately lies, "Behold, he is staying in Jerusalem, for he said, 'Today the house of Israel will restore the kingdom of my father to me.'" David without thinking shoots from the hip, which is one of his biggest problems. "OK, everything of Saul's that I gave to Mephibosheth is yours." He was deceived, and he did a dumb thing, but God had provided him with the food he needed.
The second man is Shimei, and here God deals with an area in David's life which he had never addressed. As David, with his mighty men to his right and his left, comes to Bahurim, a town east of the Mount of Olives, he is confronted by Shimei from the family of Saul. He begins cursing David, throwing rocks at him & casting dust on him. These acts are suicidal, considering David's entourage, but Shimei is so angry and he hates David so much that he doesn't care.
Now what do you suppose could drive a man to the point where vengeance is so gratifying that he is willing to risk his life just to goad David? Well Chapter 21 of II Samuel tells us the incident. II Samuel ends at chapter 20 as far as the narrative is concerned. 21, 22, 23, 24 are appendices.
Sometime during David's reign Jehovah brought a great famine upon the land. After three years the light finally dawns, "There is something wrong here," and David seeks the mind of the Lord. The Lord says, "It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death." You'll recall the Gibeonites were those Amorites who tricked Joshua as he came into the land. God had said to Joshua, "You can make covenants with anybody outside the land, but anybody in the land you are to wipe out, man, woman and child." The Gibeonites apparently knew this and, with old clothes, old wine skins and moldy bread, convinced Joshua they had come on a long journey and wanted to make a covenant with him. So Joshua makes a covenant based upon sight. He did not inquire of God and, as it turned out, they were Amorites from just up the street. Since now, under an oath of God, they are safe and cannot be killed, they are made hewers of wood and drawers of water. Saul in his zealousness for the nation of Israel, and maybe in an attempt to buy off God, tried to butcher the Gibeonites. Well, you don't violate an oath to Jehovah with impunity. 3 years of famine is the result. Now David knows the reason, but instead of asking God, "What do I do to atone for Saul's actions?" Instead he goes to the Gibeonites and asks them. These are pagans, remember. They don't like Jews. They hate Saul. Their gods are vicious, cruel creatures. They say, "We want seven sons of Saul's who we will execute and hang up in front of the Lord in Gibeah of Saul." They want to go right into Saul's headquarters, his home town, and string up seven bodies of his sons and leave them hanging. David gives them over, two sons of Saul by Rizpah his concubine and five grandsons of Saul by Merab, his oldest daughter the one who was almost David's wife.
Well, that violates two basic laws of Israel, and David knows it. #1 Fathers are not to be killed for the sins of their children nor sons for the sins of their fathers. #2 They didn't hang by the neck in Jerusalem. They killed a man first then strung up the body as desecration to show how heinous the criminal was. You were not allowed to profane the body longer than enough to make your point. At dusk it had to be taken down and given a burial or the land was defiled. Not so with the sons of Saul. They hung there from the beginning of the barley harvest in April until the coming rain in autumn, six months in the middle of Saul's Gibeah. To prevent the bodies from being defiled by animals, Rizpah brought a big mat and for six months fought all the wild beasts and birds of the air and honored those bodies.
Meanwhile the famine went right on. David still did not consult God about it. Finally when he heard about Rizpah and got the message. He took the bodies down, got Saul's and his sons' bodies from Jabesh-gilead and gave them all an honorable burial. Then he entreated God, and God healed the land, but not until then.
One other item. Remember in I Samuel 24 when David could have killed Saul in the cave and didn't, just cut off a piece of his robe? Saul acknowledged that David would indeed be king of Israel, and he also asked David to swear by Jehovah that he would not cut off Saul's descendants or try to remove his name from Israel. David swore and yet he violated that covenant with Saul as we have just seen. He never dealt with that in his life. Now God is going to restore David, but he is going to restore David whole. Here is an area in David's life that he has never faced, and the Bible says if we will judge ourselves we need not be judged, but if we do not judge ourselves then God judges us that we might not be condemned along with the world.
So David is marching out of town and runs into Shimei who takes on the whole of the mighty host. He humiliates David, curses him, calls him a man of bloodshed and calls him a man who has shed a lot of the blood of the house of Saul. Abishai, David's general, says, "Let me go and remove this dog's head." David says, "No, God sent him to curse, let him curse. If my own son will take me on how much more this Benjamite; Seven sons I killed." And he accepts the humiliation of Shimei, as a judgment from God. Do you see why David is a man after God's own heart? He does awful dumb things, true, but, when Jehovah moves in, his attitude is always acceptance, total acceptance!
If I can stress one point as a mark of spirituality, it is acceptance of the will of god. What is the outstanding mark of the life of Jesus Christ on earth when he manifest only the Deity of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God the Father through his humanity and never once used his own Deity? The miracles? No, Moses and Elijah and others did miracles. Moses devastated Egypt at the height of its powers. A following? After three and a half years of ministry up and down Palestine, what kind of a following did Jesus win? Five hundred on the mountain? One hundred and twenty in the upper room? Really only twelve were with him at the end and one of those was a traitor. There were some women who remained loyal, but from a nose count Jesus had a rather poor ministry. The one thing that makes him outstanding is that he accepted the Father's will, period. "'I always do what I see the Father do. I always say what I hear the Father say. I always do the will of him my Father.' Which of you convicts me of sin? Find one time in my life when I didn't accept whatever the Father wanted done and do it, including Gethsemane. 'Abba, Abba, you can do anything. Let this cup pass from me, but not my will but Thine be done.'" He had to make three trips to get his own emotions in line, but always, "Not my will but Thine be done."
Acceptance is the mark of maturity, my friends. Not scalps in your belts or how many you lead to Christ or how large your Sunday School is or what a tremendous Bible teacher you are, but how do you accept the will of God for your life. That is the mark of spirituality. That is the mark of David. Performance, zilch! He gets an F in performance. Commitment of the heart, an A+; Acceptance an A+. This man lived a thousand years before Christ came on the scene. He had no model such as you and I have. All he had was the Word of God in the Old Testament. Much of the Prophets had not as yet been written. He wrote 73 of the 150 Psalms. Compared to us he has relatively little light in his life, just a personal relationship to the Living God. Acceptance is the mark of David, and that is why he is a man after God's own heart.
You want to know where you are going in Christ? Look back and ask, "How has my acceptance quotient grown during the last year? Has it grown, plateaued or skidded off? Don't count your converts. Don't count the size of your Sunday School class. Don't count your offering. Just count one thing, "Do I justify me instead of God when he puts the finger on my sin? Do I get angry with God when he puts the finger on me and not the guy next door who is a crumb? How much do I accept the will of God for my life?" David is a man after God's own heart because of one thing, the only thing that really matters to God demonstrated by his Son. He really wants to be God's man. Jesus Christ really was God's man. That is why Jesus is called the son of David. With pride he calls himself that.
Next week we'll go into the battle and watch how God moves.
Father, we thank you so much for the fact that you do not ask us to perform; you simply ask us to be open and honest and available to you, to be willing to be your man or your woman, be willing to accept your will for our lives no matter what it is, Father, whether we think it is good or bad but just to quietly thank you for whatever happens to us no matter whether it is a house burning down, or the kids running off, or that lousy husband or that no good wife, or loss of job or even cancer. In everything that happens to us may we see your loving hand quietly molding and changing us into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, what we were designed to be, thanking and not getting angry, thanking and not comparing, but just thanking you Father. We thank you in Jesus' name.
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