We have been studying the subject of “God’s Own Heart” for several weeks now. In this series of teachings, we have been answering the following question: “What is God’s own heart?” In other words, what does His heart look like? What is in His heart? And what are His innermost passions and desires? And the answers we have come up with to these questions so far is—US! We are what is in His heart! We are His innermost passion and desire! He is treasuring us, and His eyes are on us!
So, in this series, we have seen why His attention and focus are on us so—and it because He actually likes us! Yes, He seeks after us for a reason—and that is because He delights in us! He doesn’t just tolerate you or put up with you. And, no, He doesn’t just give you His attention because He is finding fault or looking for iniquity. In fact, we found in Psalm 18:19 why He saved us in the first place. In this passage, David said, He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me…”
First of all, we see that David said that He brought us out into a “broad place.” The word used for “broad” here literally describes a “wide, roomy, large place.” I see this place David describes as a type of the kingdom of God that the apostle Paul said we have been translated into (see Colossians 1:12). But then David said, “He delivered me…” So, we saw that, like David here, He has delivered you and I too! Yes, He has delivered us from the hand of all of our enemies! Glory to God! But why did God deliver us like He did David? Well, we made the point last week that He didn’t save and deliver us because He felt obligated to or because He would have felt guilty if He didn’t. No, this passage of Scripture explains exactly why He has delivered us. It is because He delighted in us!
So, we saw how this word “delighted” is a very important word for us to understand—for this was His motivation for saving us. We saw how this word means, “to desire, be pleased with, and have pleasure in.” I once heard someone say that this word simply means to love something or someone very, very much! So, we can see God’s heart for us here! He actually “delights” in you and me! No, He doesn’t just tolerate us. He doesn’t just put up with us. He actually takes pleasure in us!
And, again, don’t be mistaken—He doesn’t just delight in us when we do what is pleasing to Him. We looked over at John 3:16 which teaches us that God gave us His only begotten Son because He so loved the world. First of all, that means that He didn’t just love the world; He so loved the world! In other words, this was not just a casual, generic, normal kind of love. That would have been far beyond what we could imagine—that He would even love us in our lost and sinful condition. But for Him to so love the world shows us the depth, width, height and length of this love He has for us! Secondly, Jesus here didn’t say that God so loved the “righteous,” or His “children.” It says that this immense love that motivated Him was for the “world.” Yes, the lost, cursed, dying world that had sinned and fallen short of His glory! Glory to God!
So, we looked at a good question that could come up—Does God still “so love” us now that we are saved and delivered? Sure, He does—for why would He love us less now that we are actually trying to live for Him? That is illogical. So, we looked over at Romans 5:6-11 to verify this where the Apostle Paul reasoned along these same lines when he, in essence, said, “If God loved us when we were ungodly sinners, how much more will He love us today now that we are saved and justified?”
In other words, we saw how God sees us now by looking at Colossians 1:21-23. We learned that we are no longer to identify with the beginning of verse 21, which says, “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works…” Notice that this verse says, “And you, who once were…” No, this is who we were, but not who we are any longer.
So, we saw what we are now: The next phrase in verse 21 says— “…yet now He has reconciled.” Yes, we are now reconciled because God wanted us reconciled. In other words, we are reconciled because He wanted us close to Him again. You see, God does not think you stink. It’s us who have that “stinking thinking,” not God. You have been washed in the blood and bathed in the perfume of the Anointed One and His anointing. Now we put off the aroma of Christ and put a sweet smell in the nostrils of God. Glory!
Then we saw how Paul goes on to say that we have been reconciled “in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” We saw how now, in Christ, have been presented unto God as, holy—meaning that we are already set apart and pure in the spirit. We are also “blameless”—meaning that we are now considered faultless and without blemish like an animal sacrifice under the Old Covenant was supposed to be. And, finally, Paul says, and we are “above reproach in His sight”—meaning there is a total absence of charges on our account. In other words, we have a clean slate! All of this is true in God’s sight! Glory!
We then began looking at some Scriptures that describe us as “the apple of God’s eye” such as Zechariah 2:8 and Psalm 17:8. We saw that this phrase “the apple of His eye” is not referring to fruit, but to the pupil of the eye—which is the center of the eye. In fact, the Hebrew word used here describes “the (little) man of the eye.” Have you ever looked someone in the eye and seen your own reflection in their pupil? That is the “little man,” right in the center of the eye.
So, here in this phrase “the apple of His eye,” we saw a big part of His heart: We are the reflection of His heart. We are where His focus is and, therefore, what He seeks to cherish and protect. Yes, God guards us as the apple of his eye.
Someone might say, “No, I believe that those references to being apple of God’s eye is a reference to Jesus.” Well, when it came to Jesus, instead of protecting Him at all costs like we always do with our eyes, the Bible actually teaches us that it pleased Him to bruise Him, His beloved Son (see Isaiah 53:10). Have you ever read that and wondered how God the Father could do that to Jesus? Moreover, how could it actually “please” Him to put Jesus on the Cross? The answer is simple: We saw that He did not get pleasure in causing to Him suffer; what pleased Him was how it would cause all of us to be redeemed, forgiven and made righteous once again! His pleasure was in us—and both He and Jesus were willing and happy to do what They had to do for you. Therefore, because of the True Son of David, we have become the apple of God’s eye. We are now the beloved sons and daughters of God. He has His eye on you. He protects you. This is the Gospel!
And that led us to an interesting point—some have said that the pupil is the part of the eye that is subject to more acute pain than any other part. So, what that ministers to me is that what hurts the heart of God the most is the pain of his people. Yes, His children’s pain is His pain as well. Just think about how we guard our eyes. If someone or something were trying to hurt our eyes, we would throw our arms up because we are far more willing to take a temporary bruise on our arm than a permanent injury to our eyes. Amen? Yes, you are willing to suffer that pain in your arm to protect something more valuable to you—in this case, your eyes. Well, that’s exactly what the Father did for us on the Cross—it pleased Him rather to bruise His right hand to protect the apple of His eye! Glory to God!
We then began to look at the fact that, as the apple of God’s eye, the Lord said through David in Psalm 101:3-8, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.” We saw that another translation of this word for “wicked” here is “worthless.” Therefore, if God’s covenant people are the apple of His eye, then we must not be wicked or worthless anymore. Amen?
Then we saw in Psalm 16:8 that David’s heart declared, “I have set the Lord always before me...” What about God? I believe He would say to us today— "I have set you always before Me!” Just imagine then—you are like God’s favorite piece of art that He proudly sets before Him, just because He enjoys looking at you. And we saw this in Ephesians 2:10 where we are told that we are God’s own “workmanship”—that is, His own work of art!
So, why is this so important to understand? It is because when you come to truly know in your heart how important you are to Him, how much He loves you, how His delight is in you, and how you are the apple of His eye, you will be more prepared and equipped to give Him the other desires of His heart. And this is how we concluded this teaching—by looking at Psalm 37:4. So, evidently, the Lord delights Himself in us! And guess what else is true, therefore? We have the capability of giving Him the desires of His heart. Glory to God! What I mean is that as you and I receive His love, pleasure and delight over us, we can actually give Him what His heart desires—which is our heart, our fellowship, our love, etc. Oh yes, when you and I receive His love and let Him delight in us, then we are giving Him what His heart desires—which is a people who will let Him love them.
So, last week, we moved into a part of God’s heart that most are completely ignorant of and cannot relate to—yet, it is a big part of who He is. We began last week by asking the question: What is the first thing that you identify King David with? Most of us first identified David with being a worshipper, and understandably so—for he was first a psalmist, and a great one at that!
So, since David was a man after God’s own heart, then this heart of worship that He possessed just might also be a part of God’s heart. Yes, I believe that God too is a praise & worshipper like David was, and today I will show you why I believe this is true.
Now, we made the point that we do understand that God is not paying homage to anything or anyone else. He alone is God, and there is none other! So, He is not worshipping His creation in regards to reverencing and/or lowering Himself to us. That is His creation’s job—to worship Him in that respect. Therefore, no one is arguing the fact that God lays prostrate before no one. However, if we do a careful study of what the terms “praise & worship” truly mean and also look at other Scriptures that illustrate this other side of God, we can get a glimpse into God’s heart of worship. Amen?
So, we looked at the third chapter of the Prophet Zephaniah’s Book, where we have a beautiful description of our God’s own heart: Again, Zephaniah 3:14-17 reads— “Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; You shall see disaster no more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ‘Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.’”
Notice the Mighty Jehovah’s heart for us in verse 17: Zephaniah goes on to say— “He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.’” I guarantee you that this description of the Almighty has never entered into the hearts and minds of most believers. It certainly is true though! Our God actually rejoices over us with gladness and with singing! He celebrates us! He endeavors to refresh and renew us with His love! Amen!
We then looked at some definitions for the words “praise” and “worship” in order to understand how the Almighty could actually be a praiser and a worshipper Himself!
First of all, we saw how the term “praise” literally means “to esteem, value, or prize.” And like the word “appraise” it can also describe “raising the value of or to lift up the price of.” In other words, you could say, praise means to esteem something or someone very highly. Therefore, based on these definitions, we ought to be able to see how God can actually “praise” something or someone Himself.
What about worship? The word “worship” literally means “to adore, honor, or respect.” If you look at the word in its simplest form it says “worth-ship” which means “the state of being worthy or worthiness. Therefore, worship simply means to adore someone because of the great value and worth you place upon them in your heart.
So, based on this, the best way I can see how to describe this heart of honor and adoration that the Lord possesses is by looking at how a parent/grandparent views their children/grandchildren. They are so in love with their young ones that they oftentimes cannot even see their faults! We used the example of things like little league. Their kids can be one of the worst players on the team, but their parents think they should be batting clean-up or starting at quarterback. The reason these parents are like this is because they love their children so much that they believe in them. Yes, they expect all the good that they see in the child to come out in the game. This is what love does! It believes, trusts, and hopes in the object of its love! Amen!
So, no, God does not praise & worship us like we do Him, but He does “praise” us like we praise our children and grandchildren or “adore & love” us like we do our spouse. It’s all about relationship, church! And God’s heart is for us like our hearts are for those whom we love. Yes, the Lord rejoices in us always just as He told us to rejoice in Him always! He blesses us at all times and our praise is continuously in His mouth!
Again, God practices what He preaches. And so, if He desires us to have a heart of praise, love, worship, and rejoicing, then it is because His heart is to first love us in like fashion. He loves to praise His children, saying all manner of good things about us! If God had a wallet, I believe He would carry our picture around in it!
A HEART OF HONOR
Now this week, I want us to look at another part of God’s heart that I believe, as a general rule, our world today has lost the concept of--honor. Yes, our God has an honorable heart—again, a virtue that many in the world today have lost the concept of.
You see, one of the ways we know that honor is a big part of God’s heart is because we see this virtue lauded throughout His Word. So, again, since we see it described so much in the Bible, we can see that it is in God’s heart in abundance—because out of the abundance of His heart, He has spoken. Amen?
But regarding this subject of honor, out of all of the examples that we have in the Word of God of those who possessed this virtue, King David would be considered the poster-boy of honor. Yes, when you study the life of David, you will find a common theme throughout his life. You will find that David’s heart, among many other virtues that he possessed, was a heart of honor. And I believe this is obviously one of his biggest characteristics that made him a man after God’s own heart. Yes, in studying his life, you will see time and time again how He honored God, the things of God, other people, etc. And I want us to look at some of these examples today—but, again, not just so that we can see how honorable David was, but so that we can see the honor of God.
But before we look at these examples, let’s quickly define “honor”: Now we could spend a good amount of time just defining this virtue because of all of the different contexts that it can be used in; but today I want to just give you a general idea of what honor is.
So, what is “honor”? It is simply defined as “high respect or esteem.” Therefore, to honor something would be to show great respect for something or someone and to esteem, value and prize those things.
In the New Testament, the word “honor” describes placing great “value” on something or someone, and refers to seeing these things as “valuable, precious and costly.” In fact, it is oftentimes referring to money. So, that is a good way to illustrate what it means to honor a person or thing. Simply look at how most people treat money: They esteem it. They respect it. They value it. It receives their attention, adoration, and respect. They place it in safe places. They do not treat it as light and trivial.
Now in the Old Testament’s usage, the word “honor” carries with it the idea of “heavy” or “weighty.” Actually, it is akin to the word for God’s “glory.” So, if honor describes something being heavy or weighty, what is the opposite of heaviness or weightiness? Light! This is echoed in First Samuel 2:30: “those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.” So, to treat certain things and people as light and trivial is a way of dishonoring those things. Now certain things need to be treated light and trivial, but those are just the things that God does not consider valuable or important. For instance, Paul had the snake that came out of the fire and fastened onto his hand, and he just shook it off. He didn't give it his attention. On the other hand, the things of God ought to be considered extremely valuable and precious.
And as we go through some of these examples from the life of David, we will see how he truly honored like these definitions we’ve just seen. We will see how he honored first God Himself, the things of God, and also other people.
So, let’s begin by looking towards the beginning of David’s story—at how he got “put on the map.” And what I want us to look at is how God honors us today by looking at how David honored God by how he treated both the uncircumcised and the Lord’s anointed. Amen.
DEFENDING HIS HONOR
In First Samuel chapter 17, we have that great Sunday School story of David & Goliath. We all know what happened: David’s father, Jesse, sent David to Israel’s camp to deliver some food to his brothers. And while David was there, he overheard Goliath. So, when he found out what Saul had promised to the one who would defeat this giant, he went around talking to various men.
Now we know that part of David’s motivation was obviously what he was going to get out of defeating Goliath, but I also believe that part of his motivation was defending God’s honor—for he said, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (First Samuel 17:26).
Now the word “defy” that is used here refers to “reproaching, insulting, or treating with contempt.” So, the giant was reproaching, insulting, and treating with contempt the people of God here, and ultimately God Himself (as we will see in a moment). Sounds a lot like dishonor to me!
So, I see this story as being a good description of how the Lord God deals with the “uncircumcised.” You see, if you look at David’s heart here as being the heart of God, then consider how the Lord will treat those who dishonor His armies of people. When our enemies ridicule, insult, slander, defame, etc. the Lord will be there to defend our honor. Yes, like David did here, He will array himself to bring justice and vengeance on His people’s behalf. Therefore, when David heard Goliath speaking against His God, He stood up for Him. Likewise, when the Lord hears people speaking against us, He stands up for us. Glory!
So, there are a couple of lessons to be learned from this: We ourselves do not want to ever pit ourselves against the Lord’s anointed. It behooves us to keep our mouths off of other soldiers in the army of the Lord. Why? Because if we begin dishonoring our brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord will defend their honor—even at the expense of another child of God who is not behaving honorably themselves. Amen?
I recall how the Lord responded when the children of Israel spoke against Moses. He said that He heard what these people were saying about Him, not Moses. So, the Lord took personal what the Israelites were saying about Moses. Likewise, the Lord takes personally how His representatives are treated, and will defend both His and their honor.
TOUCH NOT THE LORD’S ANOINTED
In regard to this, we see how David also behaved honorably when it came to the next enemy that arose in his life—his own king, Saul.
Now how did this relationship between Saul & David come in to being? It started with David being identified as a skillful player on the harp that could play before Saul when the distressing spirit troubled him. Then we see David showing up when King Saul and the Israelites were standing on one mountain and the Philistines on another mountain with the valley of Elah in between them. So, after David was brought to Saul and offered to be the one to face Goliath, Saul was somehow convinced that the fate of Israel was okay to be put in this young man’s hands. And, of course, we know how that story ended.
But after that, Saul placed him over his army, and then the favor that David started receiving from the people caused Saul to be angered through seeds of jealousy being sown in his heart. So, the Bible says that from that day forward, Saul “eyed” David (First Samuel 18:9). This is when we saw Saul throwing his spear at David, saying, “I will pin David to the wall!” And the Bible says that David escaped Saul’s presence twice. Then, we see other attempts by Saul to take David’s life after that.
Can you relate to this? Has there ever been a time in your life that another Christian has stabbed you in the back, said things to defame your name, etc.? Well, you are in good company then—for it happened to David, it happened to Paul, and even happened to the sinless Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
But I want you to notice David’s response: As this situation between he and Saul continued to escalate, David never one time retaliated. In fact, in First Samuel chapter 24, we have the account where David and his men were hiding in the recesses of a cave when Saul came into the cave to rest. David’s men were convinced this was a sign that God had delivered David’s enemy into his hands. So, David secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. But then we see another example of David’s honorable heart. In First Samuel 24:5, we are told that David’s heart troubled him because of what he had done. He said in verse 6— “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.”
Then, in First Samuel chapter 26, David spares Saul again a second time. While Saul and his men slept on the hill of Hachilah, David’s two men snuck in and took both Saul’s spear and jug of water. Now Abishai encouraged David to give him the order to take Saul’s life, but again David refused, saying that the Lord would deal with Saul in His own way.
I’ll tell you what—I can guarantee you that most of us would have been thinking exactly like David’s mighty men were here. If we would not have fought back already, we would have certainly taken a whole lot more than just a corner of Saul’s robe. But not honorable David. Not only did he do no harm to his king, but his heart even smote him for taking a part of his robe. To some of us, we cannot even relate to that. But that just means we have room to grow in this godly virtue, called honor.
Now one thing we should take away from these examples is that today, every born-again child of God is the “Lord’s anointed.” Yes, we are all kings and priests before our God (Revelation 1:6). So, David’s heartfelt, truthful statement here now applies to all of God’s children. The Lord forbid that we should do anything harmful to the Lord’s anointed—to stretch out our hand against them or even to speak a slanderous word concerning them. Amen?
You see, if we are honoring the Lord, we will honor those whom He died for. We will show love and respect for one another—especially the gifts to the body that hold even greater positions of honor in the Body of Christ.
So, you can imagine where I am going with this: This honorable heart that caused David to honor even the one who tried to unjustly kill him on numerous occasions, must also be a part of God’s own heart. Yes, the Lord has treated each and every one of us, His anointed, like David treated Saul! He has poured out on us grace upon grace, mercy upon mercy! Glory to God!
You see, even though Saul made some very poor decisions as Israel’s chosen king, the Lord granted him an abundance of mercy, through the one who had God’s own heart and had every right in the natural to take his life. And I believe the Lord extends that same grace and even more so to His anointed today! For we are told in Romans 11:29 that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (i.e. irrevocable). That means that if God has called you, gifted you, and anointed you, then He is not revoking our position just because we seemingly blew it. If they were something we had earned, it would be different, but the reason they are called gifts is because that’s what they are - gifts, not wages. If we will just come boldly to the throne of grace and draw near to the Lord, He will draw near to us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness! Amen!
EATING AT THE KING’S TABLE
But David’s honor did not just stop with King Saul; it continued to his household. Yes, David honored his covenant with Saul’s son, Jonathan, even after he was killed.
Notice in Second Samuel 4 that we have a brief description of Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s young son. And when the news came from Jezreel that both his father and grandfather were killed, his nurse took him up and fled in haste. We are told that this is when he fell and became lame.
Now as we are going to see through this story of David and Mephibosheth, these things are a type and shadow of our relationship with Christ. So, I want to bring to your attention the lesson we can learn from this:
Why did the nurse flee with Mephibosheth after hearing the news of both Saul and Jonathan being killed? It was because it was customary then for one, when taking the throne, to kill all surviving descendants who might ever try to reclaim their family’s throne. Therefore, this nurse assumed that David would do the same. But she obviously didn’t know David, did she? She was completely unaware that he was different from others. Yes, David was kind. He was noble. He was gracious. But she didn’t know Him to be this way.
Do you reckon that there are many of God’s children out there today who are, likewise, unaware of how good, gracious and kind our Lord is? It is sad, but a good portion of God’s church do not truly know their God’s true nature. Just as this woman assumed David was like any other man, likewise Christ’s bride assumes their God is like any other god (i.e. quick to judge, harsh, condemning, critical, etc.)
So, this misconception of David caused her to do what? To take Mephibosheth up and flee from David’s presence! Likewise, this misconception of God’s true nature has led many Christians, when they have missed it and fallen short of His glory, to run from Him rather than to Him.
But notice that this response of fear that caused Jonathan’s house to run from David is what caused this accident that left Mephibosheth lame. The same happens to us, my friends. When we run from God in fear, guilt, condemnation, etc. this is when we open ourselves up to falling even further into more permanent spiritual conditions (i.e. spiritual lameness).
Now let’s go back over to the Book of Second Samuel and look at Second Samuel chapter 9… In this chapter, we get to see what happened with Mephibosheth later in his life:
Chapter nine begins with David saying, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (verse one)
Notice, here in verse one, that David said that he was going to show this kindness for Jonathan’s sake. Here, we see a beautiful type and shadow of how God shows us the same “covenant faithfulness” for Jesus’ sake. Amen! In other words, all the goodness, grace and mercy of God that was shown to us was not given to us because of who we are, but because of the Father God’s and the Son of God’s relationship. Amen!
Then notice in verse three that David said that his desire was not just to show any old kindness, but “the kindness of God.” You see, there is a big difference between “our kindness” and “God’s kindness.” Our love is oftentimes conditional; His love is unconditional. Our love is oftentimes merited; His love is unmerited. Our love oftentimes fails; His love never fails! Thanks be to God!
However, David went on to promise Mephibosheth that he would eat bread at his table continually. The word “continually” comes from the Hebrew word tamid (pronounced “tah-meed”) which means “constantly, always, evermore” but the root word describes continually from an eternal standpoint. So, when you look at this from the perspective of us eating at the Lord’s table, we are invited to eat from this table today in the presence of our enemies, but we will continue to partake of it all the way to the marriage supper of the Lamb and forevermore. That’s a lot of food, amen?
Then notice in verse eight, Mephibosheth’s response to this good news: He said, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?”
So, what we see here is this man had a serious identity problem. To refer to oneself as a “dead dog” means that they see themselves as having no value. This could have been because of what happened to his father’s house, but it also likely had to do with his lameness. You see, sometimes the things that have happened to us in life can warp our sense of value. But what we should be encouraged by here is that it did not change the king’s perspective of him. You see, we tend to think of ourselves as having little to no value and are unworthy, but to God, we are extremely precious and have been made worthy through our “Jonathan”- our Good, Heavenly Father.
Finally, in verse thirteen, we are told, “for he ate continually at the king’s table.” This is the fourth time in this chapter that Mephibosheth eating at David’s table is mentioned. Biblically, the number “four” describes “totality.” Therefore, this table has been “totally” prepared for us! It is a done deal! All things have been made ready and complete! Now it is just up to us to come partake! Amen.
Notice that this beautiful story ends with the phrase, “And he was lame in both his feet.” Now the awesome thing about this whole story of kindness and mercy is that when Mephibosheth sat at David’s table, his lameness was covered. It was hidden. When eating at the table of the Lord there is no sign or indication of our weakness. We are on equal “footing” with Him. Amen!
But, again, we see God’s heart in David’s heart to honor his covenant with Jonathan. You see, because of His covenant with Christ, God shows that same covenant, faithful love towards us. Amen!
Now, David’s heart of honor is not just limited to how he treated his enemies. We see his honorable heart in how he treated those who had shown kindness to Him—ultimately in His Lord and God.
Notice first how David had on his heart to honor a man after the death of his father: In First Chronicles 19:1, notice that David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, because his father showed kindness to me.”
Now this is certainly an attribute of honor—honor is being thoughtful and does to others what it would like to be done to itself. In this case, David had on his heart to show honor to the son of the one who had already showed kindness to him in the past. So, when David heard of the death of the king of Ammon, Nahash, he had on his heart to show kindness to his son, Hanun, for the kindness that Nahash had shown to him. Therefore, David sent messengers to comfort Hanun concerning his father’s death.
Well, guess what happened? The princes of the people of Ammon said to Hanun, “Do you think that David really honors your father…?” and they accused David of having ulterior motives in sending these messengers to comfort Hanun. So, they dishonored David’s messengers and sent them back in a shameful fashion.
This is indicative of our generation. You can try and honor someone in showing them kindness and they immediately think that you have a wrong motive in doing it. They might be thinking— “What do they want? Why are they being kind to me right now? There must be a reason.” Why? It is because they think that you think the way they think. In other words, they think that we are like they are. Therefore, people who lack honor do not recognize honor. Amen?
And did you know that this is how many of God’s children think that He is—that He does things like we do. No, like David in this example, the Lord is honor! And that means, as Jesus said, He is better to us than even we are to our children (see Matthew 7:9-11). Yes, He gives us good gifts just because He is good and loves to honor us.
For example, some people have thought that I am ignorant and naïve because of how I am kind and gracious to them when they have ill-will towards me. But in some of those cases, what they do not realize is how I am very aware of what is in their heart towards me, yet I show them God’s love and honor anyway. And why? It is because this is the honor of God. He is gracious, merciful, kind and loving to us, even when we are not so lovely. Amen?
THE HONOR OF GOD’S HOUSE
In First Chronicles chapter 17, we have the account where King David had it on his heart to build a house for the Lord. He said to Nathan in verse 1, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under tent curtains!” In other words, David was sitting in his house, thinking of how he could honor the Lord. So, honor looks at how it can bless and show gratitude to others and is not self-focused.
Now when it comes to most of God’s children, they are not sitting around thinking about how they can do more for the Lord; rather, they are thinking of how they can be honored themselves. This is not the honor of God! Like David, God is focused on how He can honor you and I, not how we can honor Him more!
Then notice how Nathan responds: He said, “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.” (verse 2). Now this is a quite an amazing response by Nathan because the Lord had ordained the tabernacle to be fashioned the way that it was. In other words, God was the One who decided to place the ark of the covenant under tent curtains. Yet, David just had it on his heart that the things of God deserved better—especially when he himself lived in a house of cedar.
But later that evening, the Lord told Nathan to say to David, “You shall not build a house for me” and then proceeded to tell him why in verses 5-14: He explains, first of all, in verses 5-6 how He has never asked to have a house built. Then, beginning in verse 7, the Lord addresses David personally and reminds him of where He had brought him from and various things He had done for him.
And notice what the Lord then promised to David in verse 10: He said, “Furthermore I tell you that the Lord will build you a house.”
So, what just transpired here? David, of his own accord, had on his heart to honor the Lord in building Him a house. And even though that was not a part of God’s plan—David not being the man for the job—the Lord honored David in return with the very same thing that he desired to honor the Lord with! Wow! Granted, David had not even done anything yet! He simply just had it in his heart to do it. And the Lord promised to bless Him just because of his heart. Praise the Lord!
This reminds me of the story in the Book of Haggai: Haggai is a relatively short book containing only two chapters, but it holds a truth that’s value cannot be contained in a mere two chapters.
This prophet was sent to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, and to the high priest, Joshua, to give them a Word from the Lord. And contained in this Word was a rebuke for their failure to build the Lord’s house when they had been busy building their own homes.
You see, the truth that we should take away from this short yet powerful book is that we should guard against not putting the things of God first like the Jewish people were doing here. After their return to their country, they were first rebuilding their own homes and seeking first their own personal things. But the Word of the Lord that came to them was, in essence— “What about My house!?! Is it really best for you to get your personal things together before you seek My kingdom!?!”
What I see through this event in the history of Israel is a failure to abide by the first principle of the kingdom—seeking first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). They were doing what so many Christians still do today—seek first their own things before they seek the things of the kingdom.
Then the prophet told them in Haggai 1:5-7 to “Consider your ways.” Then he recalled to them that they had “sown much, and bring in little; they ate, but did not have enough; they drank, but were not filled with drink; they clothed themselves, but were not warm; And he who earned wages, earned wages to put into a bag with holes.” In essence, what he was telling them was, by them only seeking to take care of themselves (you could say, seeking first their own kingdoms), their needs weren’t being met. So, the prophet said again, “Consider your ways!” In other words, observe how you have been doing things because the fruit (or lack thereof) of your ways is a result of how you have been doing things.
Well, then we see the people heeding the word of Haggai, repenting, and purposing in their hearts to work on the house of God. Then, in Haggai 2:15-19, he tells them to consider something else—"that from this day forward, from before stone was laid upon stone in the temple of the Lord…I will bless you!”
You see, the principle that we can see in both of these examples is this: Lord’s blessing begins when we purpose in our hearts to honor the things of God first.
But let’s endeavor to see God’s own heart here: If the Lord commends, lauds, and blesses His people when we seek first His kingdom, then we must believe that this is who is He as well. Yes, our God possesses a heart that honors us first! His heart is to bless our kingdom first! He wants us to have a house too!
Then, in First Chronicles 17:11-14, the Lord begins to describe this “house” that He would build for David by declaring the promised Christ, the Son of David. Now let me ask you a question: Would this automatically have been God’s plan—for the Messiah to come through David’s line—or was it possible that the Christ could have come through someone else’s genealogy from the Tribe of Judah? The reason this is good question to ask is because David’s heart to honor the Lord by building Him a house culminated in this exceedingly great and precious promise that the Christ & Messiah would come from the Davidic line! Glory to God! Proving to us once again that when we seek to honor the Lord, the honor we receive in return is a pressed down, shaken together, running over kind of harvest! Amen!
Now, believe it or not, we are a part of this prophetic promise as we are now grafted and abiding in the True Vine of David’s family tree! Which is significant when you consider verse 13 which says, “I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you.” Now that is an obvious reference to King Saul. So, the Lord is promising that the seed of David would not be dealt with like Saul was dealt with. I believe these are called— “the sure mercies of David.”
Then we see in verses 16-27, how David went in to his house and sat before the Lord and prayed such a beautiful and humble prayer: Notice that in verse 18, David refers to all that God has done for him and has promised to do for him as “the honor of Your servant.” This means that all of these wonderful promises were the Lord “honoring” David. And in verse 19, David referred to all that God did for him as being— “according to His (i.e. Your) own heart.” Therefore, God’s own heart is a heart that seeks to honor us!
Well, even amid all the awesome promises that he received, I can just imagine that David was still a little disappointed that He wouldn’t be the one to build the house of the Lord. However, although David was not permitted to build the house for God, he still did all that he could to prepare for its construction. In other words, his heart said— “Well, just because I can’t build it myself, doesn’t mean that I can’t make preparations for it and be the first to give towards it!” And we see this described in detail in the last chapter of First Chronicles.
In First Chronicles chapter 29, we have the big event of David overseeing the first stages of building the Temple along with his young son, Solomon.
In verses 2-5, David first shows His willingness to underwrite the building of the Lord’s house with his extremely generous offering. I’ve heard one say that just David’s own personal offering from his treasury listed in verses 3-5 would be by today’s standards, the equivalent of 1.5 billion dollars plus! Wow! Now that’s an honorable offering!
Then, in the following verses, David encouraged the people to give as well! And they, in turn, gave billions of dollars, following the lead of their king!
Wow, what a glorious day this must have been to be a part of! And it all started by this man after God’s own heart who first off simple had it on his heart to build the Lord a better house and then his follow through to give one of the single greatest financial offerings we have ever seen!
So, I will conclude with this— Can a man out-give God? Absolutely not! So, if we see this man who had God’s own heart giving so lavishly for the building of the Lord’s house, then how much more can we see God giving us. “To us?” you say. “How does giving to the building of the house translate to God giving to us?” Well, what is God’s house/temple today? We are! Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit of God (First Corinthians 6:19)! So, we can see God’s own heart in this example as He has given more than a couple of billion dollars for us!
Yes, God has already given an extremely honorable offering for us, and He is still willing today to “spend and be spent” for us! We see this in the New Testament.
ACCORDING TO HIS RICHES IN GLORY
Notice Philippians 4:19, an oft-quoted passage of Scripture, says, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Now, let me first say that this verse is not just a blanket promise for every Christian like so many tend to use it. No, this verse is only a promise to those who sow faithfully into God’s works like the Philippian Church did. You see, a good rule of thumb when interpreting Scripture is to not take a verse out of the context in which it was written. Notice the one little conjunction that Paul begins verse 19 with— “And.” You do not begin a sentence with a conjunction without intending for the previous thoughts to be considered first, do you? So, what Paul was saying basically was— “Since you have given so graciously and faithfully into my ministry and God is so well pleased with your offerings, all your needs will be supplied according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus!” Therefore, Philippians 4:19 is a conditional promise intended for those who faithfully seek first the Kingdom of God in their finances.
Let’s look further at this verse: Notice Paul said, “And my God…” Why did he refer to God as “my God”? Was He not the God of the Philippian Church as well? Of course. Paul was simply speaking to them out of his own personal experience with his God. A good paraphrase of this would be— “And my God, the God that I have personally known to be so faithful to me and to always supply all my need…” So, we can clearly see that the apostle Paul had a personal and experiential knowledge of his God. He had both tasted His goodness and fed on His faithfulness during his Christian walk. Regarding this, he said in Second Timothy 1:12, “…for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded…” Likewise, when you get to truly know—intimately and experientially—the One in whom you believe, you too will become persuaded that He will do what He said He would do—not just for you, but for others as well.
Then Paul goes on to say to them in Philippians 4:19 that the God that he had found to be so faithful and true— “shall supply all your need.” On the surface, this phrase may seem to say that God will just provide your basic necessities, but in looking at the original Greek language, we find that it means more than that. The Greek word for “supply” in this verse is pleroo and literally means “to make full.” This does not sound to me like God will just give us the bare minimum to meet our everyday needs, does it? No, this says that God will take our cup that is empty and fill it up to the brim so that we do not have any more room to contain His provision. Hallelujah!
Then Paul goes on to say how God will fulfill our every need: He said that He will supply them— “according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” This is such an awesome truth, saints! Notice that He does not supply our need out of His resources; He supplies our need according to them! You might be thinking— “What is the difference?” Allow me to illustrate: Suppose a millionaire tells you he is going to help you pay for a car. Well, if he or she gives to you out of their resources, then that would mean that they could give you as little as one dollar, correct? But if they say they are going to give to you according to their resources, then that means they are going to supply you with a whole lot more than one dollar, amen? You see, if a millionaire helps you pay for a car according to their resources, then we are talking about them paying for a good portion of that selling price of the car, if not flipping the entire bill. Why? It is because they are supplying your need according to how wealthy they are, not simply giving you just any amount from their wealth. Do not be mistaken either: We are not talking about just a millionaire here. We are talking about the God who created the heavens and the earth. We are talking about the God who owns both the cattle on a thousand hills and all the gold, silver, and precious stones of the earth. To say that the Lord is extremely wealthy would be a major understatement. So, when Paul says that our God will fill our cup “according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” he is not talking about God giving us just enough; He is talking about Him giving us more than enough. And this wasn’t the first time Paul talked about supply. In Philippians 1:19, he says, “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Paul was very familiar with the heart of God to supply our needs abundantly!
Friends, this is simply God’s nature! When He filled Peter’s net with fish, He gave him so much that his boat began to sink. When Jesus multiplied the loaves and the fishes, they ate until they were full—even having twelve baskets left over. Our God is extremely wealthy and delights Himself in supplying all our need according to His glorious riches. So, when we are promised in the Word of God that our faithful and sacrificial giving into the Kingdom of God results in Him supplying our every need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus, know that we are talking about abundance. I do not know about you, but this stirs me up to even be more of an extravagant and honorable giver! Glory!