March 28

2 Samuel 1-3, Psalm 87

Unfortunately, recently one of the surgeons who worked for many years at our hospital chose to take his own life. One of my patients who was treated by him for cancer, questioned whether she could even trust the advice she received from him since he was capable of doing such a thing. Many men and women of God, who have been used mightily by Him and clearly were anointed by the Holy Spirit have later succumbed to temptation of one kind or another. Their falls are often highly publicized as they fall in the area of sexual impurity or financial greed or power. Many walk away disillusioned wondering whether their belief in God is real, seeing how these men and women fell. That is the problem when we put our hope and trust in any individual rather than God. Also, just because someone falls doesn't mean they weren't anointed by the Holy Spirit or that their messages were not authentic. Legends and myths tend to immortalize and venerate their great men, minimizing or removing their flaws from their history and accentuating their highlight reel. But one of the many great things about the Bible is it never does this. Our Biblical heroes are presented flaws and all. And their failings and falls in no way diminish whether or not they were used by God. Aside from Jesus, practically every Bible hero fell : Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, etc.

David is often called a man after God's own heart. We see this mighty man of God slaying giants, continually leaning on God during turmoil, extend grace to others, etc. This mighty man of God also spent over a year backsliding in Ziklag in the region of the Philistines. Later in 2 Samuel we will see him commit adultery and plan a man's murder. Yet no one should ever question whether or not David was indeed anointed. Though David did not inquire of the Lord in his backslidden state in the land of the Philistines and in 1 Samuel 29 put himself in a position where he might have even joined the Philistines in battle against the armies of God, we see him in 2 Samuel 2:1, "It happened after this that David inquired of the Lord, saying, "Shall I go up to any of the cities of Judah?" Tragedy and the valleys of life often bring us back to God. The beautiful thing is when we honestly turn back He is always there. His grace is limitless.

When our leaders fall we often witness a good old fashioned shunning. People question their calling or anointing. If people formerly listened to their archived sermons, they stop. Why do we hold them to a level that those in the Bible could not live up to. Applying this level of scrutiny to David, would require us to stop reading the many Psalms that he wrote as though his fall somehow diminished his anointing when he wrote them. This does not diminish the seriousness of sin in any way. These men and women need to repent of their sins as we all do. Since they have brought reproach to God's name their future roles and effectiveness may be compromised, but, why do we question whether or not they were real or not see how we ourselves could never live up to that standard. Grace is often freely extended to any outside the church who have lived lives of addiction, abuse, sexual impropriety, etc. But, it is often not as freely extended to one of our own inside the church. Can you imagine the power we would see and the revival that would take place if our churches were filled with people who majored in grace rather than judgment. May we never forget that we are who we are and eternally going where we are going not by what we do, but by His grace. Grace is simply receiving something we don't deserve. The moment we believe we have earned it, it is no longer grace. We read in Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." We read in Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." We read in Romans 8:38-39, "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life,..., nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Jesus freely offered grace to the undeserving, may we be examples of His model and freely extend grace to others.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster