"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." ~ Deuteronomy14:2

Monday, December 19, 2011

Raising the Standard: Resourcefulness Is Seeing Resources That Are Overlooked By Those Around Me

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." ~ Genesis 1:28
Lessons on Resourcefulness From The Pages Of Scripture:
A life and death battle will always rage between the unresourceful, who depend on human reasoning, and the resourceful who depend on Godly creativity to reveal unseen provisions. Nowhere in Scripture is the eternal warfare more vividly portrayed than through the ministry of two men. They became a threat to the evil rulers of their day. They used resourcefulness to provide food for the hungry, strengthen the hands of those around them, and advanced the work of God.
Resourcefulness is a requirement and also a result of fulfilling God's first command to "... be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). Lack of resourcefulness will encourage the lie that we must limit births because "we are running out of natural resources." Who were the two men who demonstrated unusual resourcefulness in order to provide food, but were condemned for it by jealous rulers who wanted to increase their own power? Ahimelech and our Lord Jesus Christ.
How Is Seeing Overlooked Resources Illustrated In Scripture?
A group of men hurried down the trail. Thew were fleeing for their lives, having been falsely accused. Weary and hungry, they arrived at a temporary place of safety. The leader in charge looked at the men in surprise as they asked him for something to eat. The Godly leader explained that no food was available. The men had only a few moments to spare and urged their kindly host to think of some way to help them. Finally a creative way was worked out to meet their need. However, in the shadows an evil man watched what happened and later informed the king. The news pleased the jealous king. It provided for him an excuse to destroy the kindly spiritual leader whom he looked upon as a troublesome rival. The vengeful king sent out messengers and had him arrested. Angrily the king accused the loyal leader of breaking the Law. The leader assured the king that he had acted by the true spirit of the Law. The king coldly brushed him aside and called for his execution. The soldiers stood in astonishment at such an order. This leader was highly respected. They could not bring themselves to kill him. The frustrated king then called for the evil man who had reported the event. This willing foreigner took the sword and carried out the bloody assignment. The second resourceful man lived many years later. He too fed a hungry group of men, but in the process, evil men were watching His actions and later reported Him to jealous officials. They looked upon this spiritual leader as a threat to their authority. Eventually they brought Him into court and accused Him of breaking the Law. He, too, received a sentence of death which was carried out by foreign executioners. We recognize this second leader as the Lord Jesus Christ. He defended His disciples when they ate grain on the Sabbath day. It was then that He honored the first resourceful, Ahimelech, the high priest who gave the showbread to David and his men in the day of King Saul. [From 1 Samuel 21-22 and Matthew 12:1-4]
Why Did David Not Tell Ahimelech The Truth?
He feared what the consequences would be for Ahimelech. When David arrived at Nob, he noticed a high-ranking member of Saul's court, "...Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdsmen..." (1 Samuel 21:7). Doeg had been detained at the tabernacle for an unstated reason. David knew Doeg would tell Saul everything that happened. (See 1 Samuel 22:22.) He did not want to give Doeg any reason to give a bad report about Ahimelech to Saul. Aiding a fugitive was an acto of treason punishable by death. Once Ahimelech's suspicions were aroused, David said, "...The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee..." (1 Samuel 21:2). David thought that his lie would protect Ahimelech, but he underestimated Doeg's wickedness. When Doeg reported to Saul, he accused Ahimelech of aiding David and later carried out Saul's cruel order to kill the priest. In this tragic chapter of passion and politics, Ahimelech forfeited his life.
Was Ahimelech Wrong To Give David The Showbread?
The Levitical Law declared that the showbread "... shall be Aaron's and his sons'; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the Lord made by fire by a perpetual statute" (Leviticus 24:9). But there were other commands in the Law that compelled one to help a neighbor in need (see Leviticus 19:18, 33-34). Ahimelech had to discern the spirit of the Law. The intent of the Law was a warning not to use things separated unto God in a profane or disrespectful manner. A person ceremonially unclean was specifically forbidden to eat of the holy thing (see Leviticus 22:6, 10). Ahimelech insisted that David and his men be clean (see 1 Samuel 21:4). When Jesus referred to this event, He did not condemn Ahimelech. On the contrary, He used the incident to explain the picking of grain by Himself and His disciples on the Sabbath. (See Matthew 12:3-7; Mark 2:25-26; Luke 6:3-5.)
Why Did Saul React So Violently Against Ahimelech?
Saul's cruel reaction was a ruthless effort to consolidate his political power. Saul was becoming more and more jealous of sharing authority with the prophets and priests. When God permitted the nation of Israel to have a king, He established restrictions on the king's authority because God was still to be regarded as the nation's leader. The office of prophet was established to reveal God's specific will. The function of the priests was to instruct the people and the king in God's general will as revealed in the Law. In a twofold act of disobedience to Samuel, Saul had rejected the office of prophet. (See 1 Samuel 13:13; 15:19.) Now Saul had an opportunity to rid himself of the priests too. In spite of Ahimelech's plea of allegiance, Saul chose to believe the lies of Doeg. In an effort to destroy this important branch of power in Israel, Saul ordered Ahimelech and eighty-five other priests, their families, and their children to be killed. (See 1 Samuel 22:17-19.)
Illustrated In The World Of Nature:
Fleas are curiously flat insects, usually less than one-sixteenth of an inch long. They feed on the blood of most mammals and birds and can also infest humans, at least temporarily. Being a true insect, the flea goes through a complete metamorphosis of four stages. The flea was once a major health problem in American homes but it has now been virtually eliminated as a household pest. There are at least 2,000 different types of fleas. Over half of these have been identified in the last thirty years. Each flea prefers its own type of host such as a cat, dog, rabbit, or human being.
How Is The Warfare Of Resourcefulness Illustrated In The World Of Nature?
A covered wagon slowly moved across the open prairie. Long, hard miles and unexpected challenges had already convinced the pioneer family that survival depended on their ability to be resourceful One of the more difficult problems they had encountered was a prolonged attack by mysterious intruders. The intruders had also sown resourcefulness as they cleverly concealed themselves and evaded detection. At first they were tolerated, in light of more pressing matters, but soon the combined efforts of each family member were needed to fight against them. It was with great joy and much relief that the family finally arrived at the site of their new homestead. In a few weeks a cabin and a small chicken coop had been built. Early one morning one of the children came running from the chicken coop shouting," They're back again!" The entire family again battled for hours defending against the persistent intruders. Several nights later the bloodthirsty creatures returned. Silently, one slipped out of his hiding place and approached his victim. With a spectacular leap his armor-plated body landed on the unsuspecting prey. Without warning, he cut a small slit in the surface of the skin and began to extract blood. Some of it spilled on the floor where it would later become useful. With amazing agility, he leaped to the floor below where he was joined by his partner. Together they concealed hundreds of tiny eggs in the floor cracks near the blood. A few days later, as the sun peeked over the prairie horizon, chicken eggs began to hatch. The small chicken coop was soon filled with the sound of chirping chicks. What could not be heard was the hatching of other eggs in the rough-hewn planks of the floor. The lovable chicks were instantly adopted as an important part of the homestead. However, as the chicks grew, the new offspring of the intruders began to attack the helpless chicks. Frustration turned to anger for the pioneer family. This anger became a spiritual defeat and only added to the frustration of their physical defeat. Finally they realized that the only way they could win both battles was not by eradicating their enemies but by controlling them. They could only achieve this by maintaining cleanliness of their hearts, lives, and everything they owned. Only then could they hope to overcome the resourcefulness of the little flea that had been a bothersome hitchhiker on one of the chickens they had brought to their new homestead.
The Characteristics Of The Flea In Scripture:
The flea is the most annoying insect in the East. It uses its resourcefulness to continually irritate its host and transmit devastating diseases to large numbers of people in short periods of time. When Pharaoh refused to free Israel from slavery in Egypt, God sent different "... sorts of flies, and lice..." (Psalm 105:31) upon the Egyptians. The Hebrew word for lice, ken, means a fastening or biting insect. These are characteristics of fleas as well as of lice and the word is used for both. It is significant that the magicians of Egypt could not duplicate the flea as they could the first two plagues that came upon Egypt. In fact, it was the flea that caused the distressed magicians to observe, "... This is the finger of God..." (Exodus 8:19). Perhaps the thought of God's judgment was in the mind of David when he was fleeing from Saul. After cutting off Saul's robe, but sparing his life, David called out to Saul, "After whom is the king of Israel come out?... After a flea" (1 Samuel 24:14). No doubt David's primary purpose, however, was to convince the king of his harmlessness and his insignificance. David repeated the comparison in 1 Samuel 26:20.

1 comment:

Thomas Jahn said...

Where did this material and material of many other similar training blog posts of yours originate if not from the Character Sketches Vol III book ISBN 0-916888-10-X or similar volume? I was curious if there is an earlier source that the Character Sketches may have used. Certainly it would not be online with images since the copyright date of the book is 1985. Thank you.