DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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Restoring Relationships
 

1. Let us return to our strengths

1 Samuel 30:3-6
3 When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.
4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.
5 David's two wives had been captured--Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel.
6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.


This is an amazing passage, because David was known for great soldier. His men had loved him, been devoted to him, but suddenly they turned . . .We need to feel better compared to David, because nobody's talked of stoning us!

Verse 4 says David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. The men became bitter toward David because of their sons and daughters. The Bible describes bitterness as a "root" that can cause us to lose God's grace. It's important for us to acknowledge bitterness that's crept in. It's helpful to admit it, because then we can heal and move on. We resist admitting bitterness. We tend to call it "objectivity," or "boldness".

When David got isolated, what happened?. Anytime we go through a tough time, we're going to feel isolated. This causes us to misunderstand others' attempts to help us out.

When we're feeling down, we need to do what David did--find strength in God. If we're praying and our heart doesn't change, we've not found strength. That's just counseling ourselves, talking to ourselves, complaining to ourselves. Strength from God enables us to do right, to change .

1 Samuel 30:16-20
16 He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and reveling because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah.
17 David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled.
18 David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives.
19 Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back.
20 He took all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying, "This is David's plunder."


One of the great things about this story is that they got everything back. This is something we need to love as a Christian in God's Kingdom - we can always start over. Forgiveness is unique to the kingdom of God.

As Christians we need to be famous for the relationships, the excitement, the love. Like the disciples in the first century, nobody dared join them. We need to return to our strengths. One of the great benefits of a challenge is that it makes us stronger.

2. Let us bring back the body

1 Chronicles 12:1-16
1 These were the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he was banished from the presence of Saul son of Kish (they were among the warriors who helped him in battle;
2 they were armed with bows and were able to shoot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed; they were kinsmen of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin):
3 Ahiezer their chief and Joash the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite; Jeziel and Pelet the sons of Azmaveth; Beracah, Jehu the Anathothite,
4 and Ishmaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty man among the Thirty, who was a leader of the Thirty; Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, Jozabad the Gederathite,
5 Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah and Shephatiah the Haruphite;
6 Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer and Jashobeam the Korahites;
7 and Joelah and Zebadiah the sons of Jeroham from Gedor.
8 Some Gadites defected to David at his stronghold in the desert. They were brave warriors, ready for battle and able to handle the shield and spear. Their faces were the faces of lions, and they were as swift as gazelles in the mountains.
9 Ezer was the chief, Obadiah the second in command, Eliab the third,
10 Mishmannah the fourth, Jeremiah the fifth,
11 Attai the sixth, Eliel the seventh,
12 Johanan the eighth, Elzabad the ninth,
13 Jeremiah the tenth and Macbannai the eleventh.
14 These Gadites were army commanders; the least was a match for a hundred, and the greatest for a thousand.
15 It was they who crossed the Jordan in the first month when it was overflowing all its banks, and they put to flight everyone living in the valleys, to the east and to the west.
16 Other Benjamites and some men from Judah also came to David in his stronghold.


The warriors all had different strengths, different tricks. Why did they learn to sling stones right- and left-handed? What difference did it make? There's only one battle, but we all have different ways of fighting. Some have an awesome appearance, like lions, or are swift as gazelles. Others are great leaders of others, able to inspire and motivate many.

We also should be a band of brothers and sisters, with everybody contributing. We need to learn from one another. Part of the reason we're not as tight as we used to be is that we don't respect one another. We need to hold each other in as high regard. Let's look at a familiar passage, and read it for ourselves.

1 Corinthians 12:12-20
12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
19 If they were all one part, where would the body be?
20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.


This first section deals with the prominent role, and the insecure response.

1 Corinthians 12:21-26
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"
22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.


We should not drift from this. We can't look down on another part of the body, no matter what. We're messed up in our attitude when we don't appreciate each other.

1 Corinthians 12:25-26
25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.


We all need that in our own lives. When one of us is suffering, we all need to rush to each other's' aid. We just need to get back to the body, to rejoice (and mourn) together. We really need to get back to the relationships we once had, and even better. Let's not feel we have to say every little thing. Just swallow it if you can. If we really hold one another in high regard, many of these hurts will disappear.