May 24, 2009
Sunday School at Newberg Friends Church
The Perfection of Humans
Remember God who gives you all pleasant things; fear God, serve God, put nothing ahead of God, do what God has said to do, what is right and good, what God tells you to do every day
When suffering comes, remember God, worship God, submit to God, serve God, put nothing ahead of God, do what God says to do
Learn from suffering to be obedient, complete the work God has given you to do
This is human perfection.
So what about sin?
Job’s perfection was not sinlessness, but was instead that he feared God and turned aside from evil, left evil undone (eschewed, KJV) and he went out of his way to do good, to do God’s will.
Job 7:21 Job asks God why God does not pardon Job’s transgressions and take away his iniquity
Job 13:23 Job asks God to show him his iniquities, sins, transgressions; he asks why God hides from him and holds him as an enemy
Job 31:33 Job said that he did not cover his transgressions, as Adam did
“transgression” also includes rebellion, trespass, sin, fault
“iniquity” also includes a depraved action, crime, sin, fault, guilt, perversity
“sin” also includes misstep, slip up
Jesus’s perfection was complete obedience to God and complete dependence on God; as a result, he was sinless, despite being tempted to take matters into his own hands
Now an interesting case study: David—First installment, after his anointing and before becoming king
Here's the case for placing David in the category of "perfect"
1 Kings 9:4 God says to Solomon, “if you will walk before me with integrity (perfection) of heart like your father David, and in uprightness do what I have commanded you, keeping my statutes and judgments, I will establish your throne. But if you quit following me, quit obeying me, and turn aside to worship other gods, Israel will be destroyed”
1 Kings 11:4 In his old age, Solomon turned away his heart after other gods (the text blames his wives), and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God as was the heart of David his father
1 Kings 15:3 Abijam walked in the sins of his father Rehoboam (idolatry), and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God as was the heart of David his father
1 Kings 15:14 Asa’s heart was perfect with the Lord all his days (he removed much of the idol worship, though not all); however, Asa bought a military alliance with Syria with gold and treasures from God’s house; this reliance on human help rather than on God was reprimanded by the prophet Hanani, whom he threw in jail (2 Chronicles 16); the writer of Chronicles also follows up by saying Asa went to doctors rather than the Lord for his diseased feet
2 Chronicles 25:2 Amaziah did what was right in the sight of the Lord but not with a perfect heart—he followed some of God’s laws, but he adopted the idols of Edom as his gods, despite the fact that the God of Israel gave him a military victory over Edom, and he did not repent when a prophet confronted him
The framing of David as perfect centers around his unswerving devotion to God; his heart was wholly given to God; complete, undivided attention to doing what God asked of him
How does this show up in his life after he is anointed as heir to the throne but is not yet king?
1 Samuel 16:13 Samuel anointed David in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord came on David from that day forward
David played his lyre for Saul to relieve his suffering from being tormented by evil spirit after the spirit of the Lord left Saul; apparently David did this somewhat anonymously
After David went out and killed Goliath, Saul discovers who his father is
Saul puts David over part of the army, and David is wildly successful at killing Philistines; the people celebrate, saying “Saul has slain his thousands, David his ten thousands” and Saul becomes angry and quits trusting David
Saul tries twice to spear David while David plays the lyre
Saul gives him a command of 1000; he is again successful, becoming beloved by the people and feared by Saul
Saul hopes David will die in battle against the Philistines; he gives David his daughter Michal in marriage, hoping this will make David a target for Philistine hostility; plus the bride price is 100 foreskins ☹; when David brings them back, Saul fears him more
Then after a battle with Philistines which David won, Saul tries again to spear him and David’s wife Michal warns him to flee for his life, which turns out to be a needed thing
Saul's son Jonathan warns David that Saul is planning to kill him again
David flees to the wilderness with about 400 (his family, everyone who was discontented, in distress, in debt, sort of like Robin Hood); he sends his parents to Moab to be safe
Saul slaughters all but one of the priests who gave David bread and the sword of Goliath; the one who escapes joins David. He has an ephod, whatever that is, and they consult it for what to do next
1 Samuel 23: David inquired of the Lord, so David and his men went and did what God said; this sort of thing happens repeatedly; the point is that David does what he is told by God to do
1 Samuel 24: This is a funny story in some ways. Saul is pursuing David in the desert, and he steps into a cave to relieve himself. In this very cave are hiding David and his merry men, who urge David to kill Saul. Instead David spares Saul’s life, only cutting off a bit of his robe to show Saul that he could have killed him. He says, "I will not touch the Lord’s anointed." This shows David's submission to God’s will and God’s timing. Unlike MacBeth, he does not let his anointing go to his head, so to speak.
David says to Saul, "May the Lord judge between us; may the Lord avenge me on you, but I will not do it for myself"; this shows David's willingness to trust God to make things right
Saul admits: you have repaid me good for evil
1 Samuel 26 David spares Saul’s life again, saying, “The Lord gave you into my hand, but I would not touch the Lord’s anointed.”
Sometime later, Saul and Jonathan die. David becomes king.
David’s prayer "Who am I? "in 2 Samuel 7 reveals him to be humble, reverent, grateful, praying according to what God has revealed.
Main thoughts about what made the anointed-but-not-yet-king David perfect in his heart: His undivided will to do what God tells him; his refusal to avenge himself when he has the opportunity to do so; his respect for God that involves not taking things into his own hands but trusting in God's sovereignty and timing