Not many people, apparently, are true loners in life--having no family, no friends, no pets--except perhaps for a goldfish? Most of us started this life well-connected to our moms by an umbilical cord. Hopefully we then bonded to some degree with Mom and Dad and our bros and sisters. It's good to have bonded with our teachers in school as well, and with our fellow-travelers in this short life of trouble.
But their are many disconnects along the way, and not all roads lead to Rome. We are social creatures, made in the image of God, and we are intended for relationships.
God has made us very much like Himself (at great risk to Himself, you might say). What if we had brought down the whole house on our own heads, ruining what was a pristine, glorious old creation? God's fix-it plan is a New Creation, not a repair job, nor a remodeling of the Old Creation! Nature shows us much about the order, harmony and purpose our Creator originally built into the universe. Sadly the universe was badly damaged back when when our first parents fell. Regarding our present purpose in life--since we were sent here by God to search out the meaning of life--consider three key personal relationships we have in this life. In three different ways we can know wholeness, healing and true love.
These three special unions: are (1) Man and wife is Marriage, (2) Same Sex Bonding with brothers, sons, and friends. (3) Union with Jesus Christ. Each of these categories is about holiness (wholeness).
The Ruin of Creation | The Connected People | The Holiness Papers | Made in the Image of God
I. Man and Wife in Heterosexual Marriage (One Body)
II. Same Sex Bonding (One Soul)
III. Union with Jesus Christ (One Spirit)
Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’ So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
‘This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called Woman,
for out of Man this one was taken.’
Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:18-25)
The first union of one man and one woman is described in the opening chapters of Genesis. It's historical and actually happened only about 200 generations ago. This is not SciFi! We all inherited a broken genome from our first parents and no one has found a way to fix it, CRISPR not withstanding. God has spoken much truth into our world so we do have a way of escape. Romans Chapter 5 describes the answer eloquently:
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, (Adam) and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned—sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many..."
For many people, growing up, courtship, raising kids, and living happily every after have been the norm -- until the last couple of generations. But now we are seeing a great collapse! The New Testament is full of coping mechanisms and help is available from God. Many, however live in deep denial! Good families are as scarce as hen's teeth now, yet still entirely possible when mom, dad and the kids take Jesus seriously.
We are offered as much grace and mercy as we need--and we are all very needy!
* No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
* Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two, shall become one flesh.” (1 Corinthians 6:15-17)
* The Pharisees also came to Jesus, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19)
"...he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.“ (1 Corinthians 6:15-17)
Example of David and Jonathan: Jonathan, son of Saul, Israel's first king enjoyed a special friendship with the young shepherd boy David, who had killed Goliath. Saul was intensely jealous of David who was a man after God's own heart. Saul was a world man. Jonathan was probably 20 years older than David when they met. A very deep, intimate, godly bond developed between them. Sadly Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle.
David had a serious father-wound being the runt of the litter. To make matter's worse, David was the son of a Moabite woman, his father's second wife. David did not look very Jewish: he seems to have had red hair! David had many wives and poor relationships with his sons, as can be seen in the record of his life. Had Jonathan lived longer the two friends might well have had an ongoing, longer term, redemptive friendship.
David's son Solomon, by his wife Bathsheba, built the First Jewish Temple and was for years the wisest man in the ancient world. Solomon, too, was father-wounded and did not become the whole man God intended him to be until late in his life. David finished well as Psalm 18 testifies.
But the focus here is on David and Jonathan. Much is recorded about this friendship in 1 and 2 Samuel. Here are some excerpts:
"When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armour, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.
David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him; as a result, Saul set him over the army. And all the people, even the servants of Saul, approved. As they were coming home, when David returned from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the towns of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. And the women sang to one another as they made merry,
‘Saul has killed his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands.’
Saul was very angry, for this saying displeased him. He said, ‘They have ascribed to David tens of thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands; what more can he have but the kingdom?’ So Saul eyed David from that day on. The next day an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand; and Saul threw the spear, for he thought, ‘I will pin David to the wall.’ But David eluded him twice. Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. So Saul removed him from his presence, and made him a commander of a thousand; and David marched out and came in, leading the army. David had success in all his undertakings; for the Lord was with him. When Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in awe of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David; for it was he who marched out and came in leading them.
Then Saul said to David, ‘Here is my elder daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife; only be valiant for me and fight the Lord’s battles.’ For Saul thought, ‘I will not raise a hand against him; let the Philistines deal with him.’ David said to Saul, ‘Who am I and who are my kinsfolk, my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?’But at the time when Saul’s daughter Merab should have been given to David, she was given to Adriel the Meholathite as a wife.
Now Saul’s daughter Michal loved David. Saul was told, and the thing pleased him. Saul thought, ‘Let me give her to him that she may be a snare for him and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.’ Therefore Saul said to David a second time, ‘You shall now be my son-in-law.’ Saul commanded his servants, ‘Speak to David in private and say, “See, the king is delighted with you, and all his servants love you; now then, become the king’s son-in-law.” ’ So Saul’s servants reported these words to David in private. And David said, ‘Does it seem to you a little thing to become the king’s son-in-law, seeing that I am a poor man and of no repute?’ The servants of Saul told him, ‘This is what David said.’ Then Saul said, ‘Thus shall you say to David, “The king desires no marriage present except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged on the king’s enemies.” ’
Now Saul planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. When his servants told David these words, David was well pleased to be the king’s son-in-law. Before the time had expired, David rose and went, along with his men, and killed one hundred of the Philistines; and David brought their foreskins, which were given in full number to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. Saul gave him his daughter Michal as a wife. But when Saul realized that the Lord was with David, and that Saul’s daughter Michal loved him, Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy from that time forward. (1 Samuel 18)
David fled from Naioth in Ramah. He came before Jonathan and said, ‘What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin against your father that he is trying to take my life?’ He said to him, ‘Perish the thought! You shall not die. My father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me; and why should my father hide this from me? Never!’ But David also swore, ‘Your father knows well that you like me; and he thinks, “Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be grieved.” But truly, as the Lord lives and as you yourself live, there is but a step between me and death.’ Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Whatever you say, I will do for you.’
David said to Jonathan, ‘Tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at the meal; but let me go, so that I may hide in the field until the third evening. 6If your father misses me at all, then say, “David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city; for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.” If he says, “Good!” it will be well with your servant; but if he is angry, then know that evil has been determined by him. Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a sacred covenant with you. But if there is guilt in me, kill me yourself; why should you bring me to your father?’ Jonathan said, ‘Far be it from you! If I knew that it was decided by my father that evil should come upon you, would I not tell you?’ Then David said to Jonathan, ‘Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?’ Jonathan replied to David, ‘Come, let us go out into the field.’ So they both went out into the field.
Saul spoke to his son Jonathan and to all his servants about killing David. But Saul’s son Jonathan took great delight in David. Jonathan told David, ‘My father Saul is trying to kill you; therefore be on guard tomorrow morning; stay in a secret place and hide yourself. I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you; if I learn anything I will tell you.’ Jonathan spoke well of David to his father Saul, saying to him, ‘The king should not sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have been of good service to you; for he took his life in his hand when he attacked the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great victory for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced; why then will you sin against an innocent person by killing David without cause?’ Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan; Saul swore, ‘As the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death.’ So Jonathan called David and related all these things to him. Jonathan then brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.
Again there was war, and David went out to fight the Philistines. He launched a heavy attack on them, so that they fled before him. Then an evil spirit from the Lord came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand, while David was playing music. Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear; but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. David fled and escaped that night.
Saul sent messengers to David’s house to keep watch over him, planning to kill him in the morning. David’s wife Michal told him, ‘If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.’ So Michal let David down through the window; he fled away and escaped. Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed; she put a net of goats’ hair on its head, and covered it with the clothes. When Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, ‘He is sick.’ Then Saul sent the messengers to see David for themselves. He said, ‘Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him.’ When the messengers came in, the idol was in the bed, with the covering of goats’ hair on its head. Saul said to Michal, ‘Why have you deceived me like this, and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?’ Michal answered Saul, ‘He said to me, “Let me go; why should I kill you?”
Jonathan said to David, ‘By the Lord, the God of Israel! When I have sounded out my father, about this time tomorrow, or on the third day, if he is well disposed towards David, shall I not then send and disclose it to you? But if my father intends to do you harm, the Lord do so to Jonathan, and more also, if I do not disclose it to you, and send you away, so that you may go in safety. May the Lord be with you, as he has been with my father. If I am still alive, show me the faithful love of the Lord; but if I die, never cut off your faithful love from my house, even if the Lord were to cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.’ Thus Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, ‘May the Lord seek out the enemies of David.’
Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him; for he loved him as he loved his own life.
Jonathan said to him, ‘Tomorrow is the new moon; you will be missed, because your place will be empty. On the day after tomorrow, you shall go a long way down; go to the place where you hid yourself earlier, and remain beside the stone there. I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. Then I will send the boy, saying, “Go, find the arrows.” If I say to the boy, “Look, the arrows are on this side of you, collect them”, then you are to come, for, as the Lord lives, it is safe for you and there is no danger. But if I say to the young man, “Look, the arrows are beyond you”, then go; for the Lord has sent you away. As for the matter about which you and I have spoken, the Lord is witness between you and me for ever.’
So David hid himself in the field. When the new moon came, the king sat at the feast to eat. The king sat upon his seat, as at other times, upon the seat by the wall. Jonathan stood, while Abner sat by Saul’s side; but David’s place was empty.
Saul did not say anything that day; for he thought, ‘Something has befallen him; he is not clean, surely he is not clean.’ But on the second day, the day after the new moon, David’s place was empty. And Saul said to his son Jonathan, ‘Why has the son of Jesse not come to the feast, either yesterday or today?’ Jonathan answered Saul, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem; he said, “Let me go; for our family is holding a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favour in your sight, let me get away, and see my brothers.” For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.’
Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan. He said to him, ‘You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse lives upon the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Now send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.’ Then Jonathan answered his father Saul, ‘Why should he be put to death? What has he done?’ But Saul threw his spear at him to strike him; so Jonathan knew that it was the decision of his father to put David to death.
Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food on the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, and because his father had disgraced him.
In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him was a little boy. He said to the boy, ‘Run and find the arrows that I shoot.’ As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. When the boy came to the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen, Jonathan called after the boy and said, ‘Is the arrow not beyond you?’ Jonathan called after the boy, ‘Hurry, be quick, do not linger.’ So Jonathan’s boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. But the boy knew nothing; only Jonathan and David knew the arrangement. Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said to him, ‘Go and carry them to the city.’
As soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. He bowed three times, and they kissed each other, and wept with each other; David wept the more. Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, “The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants, for ever.” ’ He got up and left; and Jonathan went into the city. (1 Samuel 20)...
"...David was in the Wilderness of Ziph at Horesh when he learned that Saul had come out to seek his life. Saul’s son Jonathan set out and came to David at Horesh; there he strengthened his hand through the Lord. He said to him, ‘Do not be afraid; for the hand of my father Saul shall not find you; you shall be king over Israel, and I shall be second to you; my father Saul also knows that this is so.’ Then the two of them made a covenant before the Lord; David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.
Then some Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, ‘David is hiding among us in the strongholds of Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is south of Jeshimon. Now, O king, whenever you wish to come down, do so; and our part will be to surrender him into the king’s hand.’ Saul said, ‘May you be blessed by the Lord for showing me compassion! Go and make sure once more; find out exactly where he is, and who has seen him there; for I am told that he is very cunning. Look around and learn all the hiding-places where he lurks, and come back to me with sure information. Then I will go with you; and if he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah.’ So they set out and went to Ziph ahead of Saul.
David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon. Saul and his men went to search for him. When David was told, he went down to the rock and stayed in the wilderness of Maon. When Saul heard that, he pursued David into the wilderness of Maon. Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. David was hurrying to get away from Saul, while Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them. Then a messenger came to Saul, saying, ‘Hurry and come; for the Philistines have made a raid on the land.’ So Saul stopped pursuing David, and went against the Philistines; therefore that place was called the Rock of Escape. David then went up from there, and lived in the strongholds of En-gedi. (1 Samuel 23)...
"...When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, ‘David is in the wilderness of En-gedi.’ Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to look for David and his men in the direction of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. He came to the sheepfolds beside the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. The men of David said to him, ‘Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, “I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.” ’ Then David went and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak. Afterwards David was stricken to the heart because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak. He said to his men, ‘The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to raise my hand against him; for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ So David scolded his men severely and did not permit them to attack Saul. Then Saul got up and left the cave, and went on his way.
Afterwards David also rose up and went out of the cave and called after Saul, ‘My lord the king!’ When Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance. David said to Saul, ‘Why do you listen to the words of those who say, “David seeks to do you harm”?This very day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you into my hand in the cave; and some urged me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, “I will not raise my hand against my lord; for he is the Lord’s anointed.” See, my father, see the corner of your cloak in my hand; for by the fact that I cut off the corner of your cloak, and did not kill you, you may know for certain that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you are hunting me to take my life. May the Lord judge between me and you! May the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you. As the ancient proverb says, “Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness”; but my hand shall not be against you. Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A single flea? May the Lord therefore be judge, and give sentence between me and you. May he see to it, and plead my cause, and vindicate me against you.’
When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, ‘Is that your voice, my son David?’ Saul lifted up his voice and wept. He said to David, ‘You are more righteous than I; for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. Today you have explained how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands. For who has ever found an enemy, and sent the enemy safely away? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. Now I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. Swear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not wipe out my name from my father’s house.’ So David swore this to Saul. Then Saul went home; but David and his men went up to the stronghold." (1 Samuel 24)...
..."Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, ‘David is in hiding on the hill of Hachilah, which is opposite Jeshimon.’ So Saul rose and went down to the Wilderness of Ziph, with three thousand chosen men of Israel, to seek David in the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul encamped on the hill of Hachilah, which is opposite Jeshimon beside the road. But David remained in the wilderness. When he learned that Saul had come after him into the wilderness, David sent out spies, and learned that Saul had indeed arrived. Then David set out and came to the place where Saul had encamped; and David saw the place where Saul lay, with Abner son of Ner, the commander of his army. Saul was lying within the encampment, while the army was encamped around him.
Then David said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, ‘Who will go down with me into the camp to Saul?’ Abishai said, ‘I will go down with you.’ So David and Abishai went to the army by night; there Saul lay sleeping within the encampment, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the army lay around him. Abishai said to David, ‘God has given your enemy into your hand today; now therefore let me pin him to the ground with one stroke of the spear; I will not strike him twice.’ But David said to Abishai, ‘Do not destroy him; for who can raise his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?’David said, ‘As the Lord lives, the Lord will strike him down; or his day will come to die; or he will go down into battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should raise my hand against the Lord’s anointed; but now take the spear that is at his head, and the water-jar, and let us go.’ So David took the spear that was at Saul’s head and the water-jar, and they went away. No one saw it, or knew it, nor did anyone awake; for they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen upon them.
Then David went over to the other side, and stood on top of a hill far away, with a great distance between them. David called to the army and to Abner son of Ner, saying, ‘Abner! Will you not answer?’ Then Abner replied, ‘Who are you that calls to the king?’ David said to Abner, ‘Are you not a man? Who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not kept watch over your lord the king? For one of the people came in to destroy your lord the king. This thing that you have done is not good. As the Lord lives, you deserve to die, because you have not kept watch over your lord, the Lord’s anointed. See now, where is the king’s spear, or the water-jar that was at his head?’
Saul recognized David’s voice, and said, ‘Is that your voice, my son David?’ David said, ‘It is my voice, my lord, O king.’ And he added, ‘Why does my lord pursue his servant? For what have I done? What guilt is on my hands? Now therefore let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If it is the Lord who has stirred you up against me, may he accept an offering; but if it is mortals, may they be cursed before the Lord, for they have driven me out today from my share in the heritage of the Lord, saying, “Go, serve other gods.” Now, therefore, do not let my blood fall to the ground, away from the presence of the Lord; for the king of Israel has come out to seek a single flea, like one who hunts a partridge in the mountains.’
Then Saul said, ‘I have done wrong; come back, my son David, for I will never harm you again, because my life was precious in your sight today; I have been a fool, and have made a great mistake.’ David replied, ‘Here is the spear, O king! Let one of the young men come over and get it. The Lord rewards everyone for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord gave you into my hand today, but I would not raise my hand against the Lord’s anointed. As your life was precious today in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may he rescue me from all tribulation.’ Then Saul said to David, ‘Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and will succeed in them.’ So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.(1 Samuel 26)
Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines, and many fell on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons; and the Philistines killed Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchishua, the sons of Saul. The battle pressed hard upon Saul; the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by them. Then Saul said to his armour-bearer, ‘Draw your sword and thrust me through with it, so that these uncircumcised may not come and thrust me through, and make sport of me.’ But his armour-bearer was unwilling; for he was terrified. So Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. When his armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. So Saul and his three sons and his armour-bearer and all his men died together on the same day. When the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley and those beyond the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook their towns and fled; and the Philistines came and occupied them.
The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. They cut off his head, stripped off his armour, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to carry the good news to the houses of their idols and to the people. They put his armour in the temple of Astarte; and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all the valiant men set out, traveled all night long, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan. They came to Jabesh and burned them there. Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and fasted for seven days." (1 Samuel 31)...
After the death of Saul, when David had returned from defeating the Amalekites, David remained two days in Ziklag. On the third day, a man came from Saul’s camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground and did obeisance. David said to him, ‘Where have you come from?’ He said to him, ‘I have escaped from the camp of Israel.’ David said to him, ‘How did things go? Tell me!’ He answered, ‘The army fled from the battle, but also many of the army fell and died; and Saul and his son Jonathan also died.’ Then David asked the young man who was reporting to him, ‘How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan died?’ The young man reporting to him said, ‘I happened to be on Mount Gilboa; and there was Saul leaning on his spear, while the chariots and the horsemen drew close to him. When he looked behind him, he saw me, and called to me. I answered, “Here, sir.”And he said to me, “Who are you?” I answered him, “I am an Amalekite.”He said to me, “Come, stand over me and kill me; for convulsions have seized me, and yet my life still lingers.” So I stood over him, and killed him, for I knew that he could not live after he had fallen. I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.’
Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them; and all the men who were with him did the same. They mourned and wept, and fasted until evening for Saul and for his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. David said to the young man who had reported to him, ‘Where do you come from?’ He answered, ‘I am the son of a resident alien, an Amalekite.’David said to him, ‘Were you not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?’ Then David called one of the young men and said, ‘Come here and strike him down.’ So he struck him down and he died. David said to him, ‘Your blood be on your head; for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, “I have killed the Lord’s anointed.” ’
David intoned this lamentation over Saul and his son Jonathan. (He ordered that The Song of the Bow be taught to the people of Judah; it is written in the Book of Jashar.) He said:
Your glory, O Israel, lies slain upon your high places!(2 Samuel 1)
How the mighty have fallen!
Tell it not in Gath,
proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon;
or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice,
the daughters of the uncircumcised will exult.
You mountains of Gilboa,
let there be no dew or rain upon you,
nor bounteous fields!
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul, anointed with oil no more.
From the blood of the slain,
from the fat of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
nor the sword of Saul return empty.
Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!
In life and in death they were not divided;
they were swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions.
O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you with crimson, in luxury,
who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.
How the mighty have fallen
in the midst of the battle!
Jonathan lies slain upon your high places.
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
greatly beloved were you to me;
your love to me was wonderful,
passing the love of women.
How the mighty have fallen,
and the weapons of war perished!
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.
Single men and single women can surely live together harmoniously when Jesus is welcome into their households. The myths of hooking up, casual sex, and gay marriage are easily refuted. It is easy to understand why entire generations have now forsaken the marriage norms of the past, and thrown out the Bible and its wisdom as well. The married generation can't get off the hook that easily!
But there is a caveat for the followers of Christ:
"...be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints. Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be associated with them. For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly;but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.’
Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:1-23)
Every follower of Jesus ought to understand the Exchanged Life--what it means to be "in Christ," and what union with Jesus is about. We are all damaged goods from conception. Cells in our bodies start to die and begin to be replaced, soon after we are born. Much time and effort is spent training us, feeding us, teaching us, investing in our lives, in hopes we are enabled to live “happily ever after,” --and give something back to the next generation. (We are also trapped in linear, historical time.) We do not all always make good choices. Even at our very best we fall short!
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26)
But life is not about you and me and the archived records of heaven we are leaving behind to be revealed for all to see in God's cosmic court room. There is a last and final judgment waiting for all who refuse to be loved, forgiven, and healed. There is only one way home.
“He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” (Colossians 1:15-20)
Human history is not about the progress and improvement of man and society. Even a small amount of objectivity about life on earth, as given to us in the Bible for instance, should be a wake up call.
The human dilemma is often studied under the heading “Original Sin.” We are far from perfect and badly flawed! We are as selfish as all get out, and we only adjust reluctantly to heavenly rule. God’s cosmic consequence engines never shut down. Not only are we all self-referential--instead of God-centered in our thinking--we all at times act as if we were gods!
“God stands in the congregation of the mighty;
He judges among the gods.
How long will you judge unjustly,
And show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the poor and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Deliver the poor and needy;
Free them from the hand of the wicked.
They do not know, nor do they understand;
They walk about in darkness;
All the foundations of the earth are unstable.
I said, “You are gods,
And all of you are children of the Most High.
But you shall die like men,
And fall like one of the princes.”
Arise, O God, judge the earth;
For You shall inherit all nations.” (Psalms 82)
It is for these reasons many become "religious"! One extreme is to be a “self-made” person "who worships his creator," --assuming there is no higher power on his side to help or hinder. Some forms of religion destroy individuality altogether insisting that we submit to precepts, guidelines, protocols which enslaved and destroy. None of this nonsense is in the Bible!
Our Creator is an entirely whole (holy) and living Being. Love from God can be offered to us and even pleaded for, but love can never be coerced or forced on us. If one possible choice is to agree to know and love and serve God, the other choice must be to not agree with the Creator’s offer. Meanwhile our long suffering Creator pours vast amounts of energy and power into the cosmos to sustain the universe another 24 hours.
God is the Creator of everything. He existed as a living Person before there was space, or matter, or time.
“Jesus Christ is the same: yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
God the Father conceived of the original design of the universe, Jesus the Son of God spoke the universe into being (John 1:1), and God the Holy Spirit undertook the sustenance and management of everything.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)
At the appropriate time of history, Jesus the Son of God became a man and came to live among us. He never once acted on His inherent power as God. He lived a life “separate from sinners.” Jesus did not act autonomously as we do today. Yet we are not self sufficient--we just act as if we were! Jesus focused His adult life not only on teaching nor even in training disciples. He knew His purpose was to die a unique kind of death. He had been sent as a cosmic sacrifice to save us from ourselves.
“...For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-21).
The fact that Jesus died for all who have lived since Adam, is stated several times in the New Testament:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
“...we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)
“This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.” (Acts 2:32-33)
Jesus does not violate our free will. He is polite and patient towards each one of us. Even His enemies were offered forgiveness and mercy until their time ran out. Is it any wonder then that Jesus is still the most amazing human being who ever lived? He is also the sole heir of all things. The entire universe is under His management and control. His resources are not diluted simply because you and I agree to know Him deeply. He manages everything one-on-one, not merely through delegated overlords or directors. His personal involvement is in the details of managing the cosmos and its inhabitants. Each of us has His full attention if we but allow Him access to our lives as Lord.
The life of us who follow Jesus has been called the “exchanged life” down through history. Galatians 2:20-21 is the best focal point for many of us:
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Galatians 2:20, 21)
Ray Stedman said, “...the whole Christian walk is to repudiate the life of the flesh with its self-centeredness and to rely upon the work of the Spirit of God to reproduce in us the life of Jesus Christ. How beautifully all this is gathered up in the verse (chapter 2, verse 20)...The old self-centered "I" has been crucified with Christ so that it no longer has any right to live, and your task and my task is to see that it doesn't live, that it is repudiated, that it is put aside, along with its determination to express what Paul calls "the works of the flesh."
Paradoxically the individual who loses his life will find it. Jesus is Personal to each and every follower and has “all the time in the world” for each one of us, yet He is in charge of the entire universe at the same time! How silly of us to suppose that we can help Him out or give Him wise advice. Amazing beyond belief is the discovery we can make that Jesus teams up with us and actually “incarnates” us with Himself.
Norman Grubb on the Exchanged Life | Hudson Taylor letter on the Exchanged Life | Intimacy with God
Wheels Within Wheels
The Connected People
The Holiness Papers
The Flower of Northumberland
Blessed Be the Tie That Binds
On Jordan's Stormy Banks
When Joshua was by Jericho he lifted up his eyes and looked
and behold a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand.
And Joshua to him and said to him,
Are you for us or for our adversaries.
But he said, No but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him,
What does my lord say to his servant?
And the commander of the LORD's army said to Joshua,
Take off your sandals from your feet for the place where you are standing is holy.
And Joshua did.
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August 13, 2021. July 3, 2022