Be Strong and Do It Pt. III
Over the last two weeks, we have discussed David's fatherly instruction to his son, Solomon. He tells young Solomon to serve the Lord with a perfect heart and a willing mind. These two recommendations provide the grace necessary for someone as young as Solomon and in the position that he would inherit to prosper. For us, it is a statement of encouragement that expresses our service to the Lord is not predicated on a perfect credit score, marriage, grades, or even life. But it is dependent upon a heart that is solely committed to the Lord and willing to make things right at the altar if necessary.
David not only tells his son to serve the Lord but to seek him as well. Solomon's task was to complete the construction of the Temple. But what happens when the mission is accomplished, or the job completed? Those in the ministry find themselves in a similar position as Solomon, whereas service takes precedent over God's presence, and his absence goes unnoticed. This occurred in Israel when the priests performed the Temple's sacrifices, but the Ark of the Covenant was absent. The absence of the Ark indicated the presence of God was not there.
David knew that a relationship with God is sustained by communion, not service. Upon the completion of the Temple, Solomon's relationship with the Lord steadily declined. It began with allying with Egypt by marrying Pharaoh's daughter outside of the covenant, then with the Queen of Sheba, and culminating with 700 wives and 300 concubines that led him to seek other gods. Solomon's natural success covered up and reinforced a carnal character. Blessings, benefits, degrees, fortunes, titles, and other material possessions are not determinants of one's relationship with God and spiritual nature. If this were the case, the women that only had an alabaster box to offer Jesus would be considered spiritually destitute.
The Gospel of John records that droves of people sought out Jesus and believed in him because of the miracles he performed. Alas, Jesus did not commit to such people because he knew that such people who seek after miracles, benefits, and amenities are only temporary. In such instances, these believers are seasonal servants that come around only when there is something to gain. However, once such miracles and benefits cease, so does their commitment to him. Unfortunately, some come to the church seeking everything else but Jesus. They seek choirs, affiliations, social connections, absolution after a week of reveling, and the list goes on. Such people seek to soothe their flesh and not sanctify their spirit by the Word of God.
In his Gospel, John recounts the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan River (John 1:32-36). The crowds came out of their communities to hear and be baptized by John, who preached repentance. One day, Jesus approached John, who, in turn, testified, "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." John's statement was not made secretly; it was expressed before the multitudes. Interestingly enough, only two out of the crowd are recorded as following Jesus from that point on, one of which was Andrew. How could this be? Those who came out to hear John preach and be baptized by him did not comprehend his statement; the Messiah is here! Those who remained by the Jordan were satisfied with what they had done and did not want to pursue beyond. The two that left John the Baptist to follow Jesus were noticed by Christ and he asks them, “What do you seek?” They responded with a question themselves, “Where do you dwell?” These two men, one of which was Andrew, sought nothing else but to be in his presence. David writes in Psalms 27, to seek the “face of God” where his word comes from. In other words, believers are exhorted to seek his Word.
Why would some remain by the river when the Messiah was identified? For many, it is easier to live comfortably in customs, traditions, and ignorance. Such action is similar to those who become comfortable in Scriptural ignorance, excusing it with statements as "The Bible is too hard to read." Or those who fulfill the commandment of baptism but not press toward the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. As it pertains to some who remained at the Jordan banks, they would later meet the Apostle Paul, who asked them, "Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believe?" These disciples of John the Baptist replied, "We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost" (Acts 19:2-4).
Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh. He states to abide, dwell, and meditate upon his Word because the Word of God illuminates the darkened mind and repels ignorance. It is the Word that directs one from the Jordan River to the River of Life that will satisfy the thirsty soul. Let us now seek the hand of God and all his benefits. Let us seek the face of God and the understanding of his Word so we can grow in a deeper, more satisfying relationship.