In the thirty-ninth year that Asa was king, he was crippled by a severe foot disease; but even then he did not turn to the LORD for help, but to doctors. Two years later he died…(2 Chronicles 16:12-13)
In the last article about living in the kingdom of light, we saw that there is a sharp contrast between the kingdom of darkness, and the kingdom of light. We briefly looked at:
- Our king and ruler of the kingdom of light: the resurrected Jesus
- Our citizenship which is in heaven.
- Our power as citizens of heaven living on earth in the kingdom of light, which is the Holy Spirit.
- Our battle living on earth in the constant struggle between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light.
In this article, we want to look at how we can receive all the provisions God has given to us as citizens of heaven living on earth in the kingdom of light. Quite simply, we receive everything we need to overcome the kingdom of darkness and live victoriously in the kingdom of light through simple, child-like faith in God’s love for us. The instant we are born again into the kingdom of light, we have access to all the power of heaven at our disposal, and we become co-heirs with Jesus Christ as owners of the universe. With child-like faith, we can receive all that God intends for us and overcome the forces of darkness that cannot stand before the light of God’s kingdom.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:3-14)
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:16-18)
Children were often used by Jesus as an illustration of pure faith – pure trust in the ones responsible for their care. When we are born again into God’s family, we are to have the same child-like faith in him that we intuitively had of our earthly parents when we were young children dependent on them.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:1-4)
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Mark 10:13-15)
The Danger of Trusting in Human Government instead of God’s Love and Provision
There is probably no better example in the Bible of a single person’s child-like faith in God and his promises than David. We know a lot about David’s life because there is so much written about him, and so much written by him in the Bible. David was Israel’s second king. Before we look at his life, it is helpful to briefly look at the first king of Israel, Saul, and why he failed.
Israel had lived in the “promised land” for about 350 years being ruled mostly on a local level through judges, prophets, Levites/priests, and elders. Spiritual reform came under the last judge, Samuel, who was also known as a prophet. But Samuel’s sons did not follow his ways, and the people instead wanted to have a king rule over them, as other nations did.
When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (1 Samuel 8:1-5)
It should be noted that Samuel replaced Eli as the judge and ruler of Israel, and that he was not related to Eli. Eli also had problems with his sons who were corrupt and not fit to lead Israel, but the Lord himself took care of the matter by allowing them to die in battle, and by choosing Samuel to lead the people. The story is recounted in the first few chapters of I Samuel. So when the people did not want Samuel’s sons to rule over them and asked him to appoint a king to rule instead, God took great exception to this, because the people were not acting in faith that God loved them and would take care of them, and that he alone should be their king.
And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.” So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.” But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” (1 Samuel 8:7-20)
Instead of looking to God and trusting him to meet their needs, the people instead wanted a king to rule over them and fight their battles, even at the cost of high taxation, forced military service, and slavery for their children.
The first king, whom God himself chose, was Saul. Saul was from the smallest tribe in Israel (Benjamin) and from the smallest clan. But in physical appearance he was “a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.” Samuel was directed by the Lord to anoint him as king over Israel. But Samuel made it very clear to the people that trusting in a human king was wrong, and that only by trusting in God, both the people AND the king, would bring about blessing and success.
And now behold the king whom you have chosen, for whom you have asked; behold, the LORD has set a king over you. If you will fear the LORD and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well. But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you and your king. Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the LORD will do before your eyes. Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call upon the LORD, that he may send thunder and rain. And you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking for yourselves a king.” So Samuel called upon the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day, and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel. And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king.” And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.” (1 Samuel 12:13-25)
God gave them what they wanted, but with a stern warning to only trust in him, not their king.
Saul started out well, with the Lord giving him success over his enemies in his first battle as king. He heavily relied upon Samuel the prophet/judge to guide him in the ways of the Lord. But after his first victory, a much more severe trial came his way. His enemies had heard about his first successful battle as the new king, so they came out against him in full force:
And the Philistines mustered to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen and troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude. They came up and encamped in Michmash, to the east of Beth-aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble (for the people were hard pressed), the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns, and some Hebrews crossed the fords of the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the LORD.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the LORD your God, with which he commanded you. For then the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” (1 Samuel 13:5-14)
Saul failed to trust God with child-like faith, and instead tried to act on his own. It started a downward spiral of saying that he trusted and served the Lord, but his heart was not with the Lord, and his actions betrayed his words. His “faith” was only an intellectual faith. So God sought out someone else who had child-like faith and had a heart that fully trusted him.
David: From Shepherd Boy to King
God’s next choice for king over Israel was a simple shepherd boy from Bethlehem. David is one of the most amazing people in the Bible, because he was a simple person who had a simple faith. We have more text about David than anyone else in scripture, because we have both historical narrative about his life, and numerous Psalms written by David himself which give us great insight into his child-like faith. We know about his weaknesses, failures, and sins as well, since so much is written about him. If there is one person in the Bible that just about everyone can relate to and look up to, it is David.
God revealed to Samuel that David would become the next chosen king of Israel. But Samuel had to anoint him as king in secret, as he had already fallen out of favor with King Saul. David was the youngest among all his brothers, and had the job of taking care of the family’s flock of sheep. God chose him to be king. He was probably a mere teenager at the time.
David’s child-like faith in God became evident very quickly through his famous encounter with the giant warrior Goliath:
The Philistines gathered for battle in Socoh, a town in Judah; they camped at a place called Ephes Dammim, between Socoh and Azekah. Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in Elah Valley, where they got ready to fight the Philistines. The Philistines lined up on one hill and the Israelites on another, with a valley between them. A man named Goliath, from the city of Gath, came out from the Philistine camp to challenge the Israelites. He was over nine feet tall and wore bronze armor that weighed about 125 pounds and a bronze helmet. His legs were also protected by bronze armor, and he carried a bronze javelin slung over his shoulder. His spear was as thick as the bar on a weaver’s loom, and its iron head weighed about fifteen pounds. A soldier walked in front of him carrying his shield. Goliath stood and shouted at the Israelites, “What are you doing there, lined up for battle? I am a Philistine, you slaves of Saul! Choose one of your men to fight me. If he wins and kills me, we will be your slaves; but if I win and kill him, you will be our slaves. Here and now I challenge the Israelite army. I dare you to pick someone to fight me!” When Saul and his men heard this, they were terrified. David was the son of Jesse, who was an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and at the time Saul was king, he was already a very old man. His three oldest sons had gone with Saul to war. The oldest was Eliab, the next was Abinadab, and the third was Shammah. David was the youngest son, and while the three oldest brothers stayed with Saul, David would go back to Bethlehem from time to time, to take care of his father’s sheep. Goliath challenged the Israelites every morning and evening for forty days. One day Jesse said to David, “Take a half-bushel of this roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread, and hurry with them to your brothers in the camp. And take these ten cheeses to the commanding officer. Find out how your brothers are getting along and bring back something to show that you saw them and that they are well. King Saul, your brothers, and all the other Israelites are in Elah Valley fighting the Philistines.” David got up early the next morning, left someone else in charge of the sheep, took the food, and went as Jesse had told him to. He arrived at the camp just as the Israelites were going out to their battle line, shouting the war cry. The Philistine and the Israelite armies took positions for battle, facing each other. David left the food with the officer in charge of the supplies, ran to the battle line, went to his brothers, and asked how they were getting along. As he was talking with them, Goliath came forward and challenged the Israelites as he had done before. And David heard him. When the Israelites saw Goliath, they ran away in terror. “Look at him!” they said to each other. “Listen to his challenge! King Saul has promised to give a big reward to the man who kills him; the king will also give him his daughter to marry and will not require his father’s family to pay taxes.” David asked the men who were near him, “What will the man get who kills this Philistine and frees Israel from this disgrace? After all, who is this heathen Philistine to defy the army of the living God?” They told him what would be done for the man who killed Goliath. Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard David talking to the men. He became angry with David and said, “What are you doing here? Who is taking care of those sheep of yours out there in the wilderness? You smart aleck, you! You just came to watch the fighting!” “Now what have I done?” David asked. “Can’t I even ask a question?” He turned to another man and asked him the same question, and every time he asked, he got the same answer. Some men heard what David had said, and they told Saul, who sent for him. David said to Saul, “Your Majesty, no one should be afraid of this Philistine! I will go and fight him.” “No,” answered Saul. “How could you fight him? You’re just a boy, and he has been a soldier all his life!” “Your Majesty,” David said, “I take care of my father’s sheep. Any time a lion or a bear carries off a lamb, I go after it, attack it, and rescue the lamb. And if the lion or bear turns on me, I grab it by the throat and beat it to death. I have killed lions and bears, and I will do the same to this heathen Philistine, who has defied the army of the living God. The LORD has saved me from lions and bears; he will save me from this Philistine.” “All right,” Saul answered. “Go, and the LORD be with you.” He gave his own armor to David for him to wear: a bronze helmet, which he put on David’s head, and a coat of armor. David strapped Saul’s sword over the armor and tried to walk, but he couldn’t, because he wasn’t used to wearing them. “I can’t fight with all this,” he said to Saul. “I’m not used to it.” So he took it all off. He took his shepherd’s stick and then picked up five smooth stones from the stream and put them in his bag. With his sling ready, he went out to meet Goliath. The Philistine started walking toward David, with his shield bearer walking in front of him. He kept coming closer, and when he got a good look at David, he was filled with scorn for him because he was just a nice, good-looking boy. He said to David, “What’s that stick for? Do you think I’m a dog?” And he called down curses from his god on David. “Come on,” he challenged David, “and I will give your body to the birds and animals to eat.” David answered, “You are coming against me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the Israelite armies, which you have defied. This very day the LORD will put you in my power; I will defeat you and cut off your head. And I will give the bodies of the Philistine soldiers to the birds and animals to eat. Then the whole world will know that Israel has a God, and everyone here will see that the LORD does not need swords or spears to save his people. He is victorious in battle, and he will put all of you in our power.” Goliath started walking toward David again, and David ran quickly toward the Philistine battle line to fight him. He reached into his bag and took out a stone, which he slung at Goliath. It hit him on the forehead and broke his skull, and Goliath fell face downward on the ground. And so, without a sword, David defeated and killed Goliath with a sling and a stone! (1 Samuel 17)
So what an entire army could not do because of their fear, a single shepherd boy with child-like faith accomplished quite easily. Notice the contrast in reactions to the giant Goliath:
Saul and his warriors: “When Saul and his men heard this, they were terrified.” “When the Israelites saw Goliath, they ran away in terror.”
David: “Your Majesty, no one should be afraid of this Philistine! I will go and fight him.” “I take care of my father’s sheep. Any time a lion or a bear carries off a lamb, I go after it, attack it, and rescue the lamb. And if the lion or bear turns on me, I grab it by the throat and beat it to death. I have killed lions and bears, and I will do the same to this heathen Philistine, who has defied the army of the living God. The LORD has saved me from lions and bears; he will save me from this Philistine.”
David had child-like faith in his God, and it was not just intellectual faith. In times of emergency and crisis he had depended upon God and God had never disappointed him while he tended the family herd of sheep. His faith also gave him confidence when others criticized or mocked him: not just his enemies, but even his own brothers! So when he met Goliath in battle, he knew that Goliath’s faith was only in his own strength, armor, and weapons. David knew from experience that God’s power was greater, and his faith in God was put to action resulting in easily defeating the older, more experienced warrior.
The battle has just begun!
So life for David took a dramatic turn after this great victory. He was pledged to the king’s daughter in marriage, was exempt from taxation, and became a leader in the army. His life was one of fame and fortune after this event, right? No! What followed was a life of intense pain and suffering, of persecution and constant dangers, of facing terror and death on almost a daily basis. The battle in the spiritual realm had just begun.
David was successful in all the missions on which Saul sent him, and so Saul made him an officer in his army. This pleased all of Saul’s officers and men. As David was returning after killing Goliath and as the soldiers were coming back home, women from every town in Israel came out to meet King Saul. They were singing joyful songs, dancing, and playing tambourines and lyres. In their celebration the women sang, “Saul has killed thousands, but David tens of thousands.” Saul did not like this, and he became very angry. He said, “For David they claim tens of thousands, but only thousands for me. They will be making him king next!” And so he was jealous and suspicious of David from that day on. (1 Samuel 18:5-9)
Even though God had Samuel anoint David as the next king, and David enjoyed favor with the people after he defeated Goliath, king Saul was not about to give up his power and reign as king so easily. What followed for David was more than 10 years as a fugitive running away from Saul. He lived in caves and had to travel away from his home and country, gathering a band of men who were criminals and misfits to help him in his battles against the enemies of his country, as well as protect him from the attacks of Saul. As was written in the last article, when one enters the kingdom of light in the spiritual realm, one also enters into an intense battle with the spiritual rulers of the kingdom of darkness. God does NOT take us out of this battle – he gives us power to endure and overcome through our faith and trust in him, understanding that we are co-heirs with Christ to eternal life and the kingdom of heaven. David had faith that one day he would become king, and he even had more than one occasion where he could have killed King Saul, but he put his trust in God waiting for God’s timing to bring everything to pass, in God’s timing, not his own.
It was during these years of running as a fugitive that David wrote some of the most beautiful verses in the Bible, in the book of Psalms. One theme we see over and over again in these verses is that those who put their trust in the Lord, will never be disappointed.
I waited patiently for the LORD’s help; then he listened to me and heard my cry. He pulled me out of a dangerous pit, out of the deadly quicksand. He set me safely on a rock and made me secure. He taught me to sing a new song, a song of praise to our God. Many who see this will take warning and will put their trust in the LORD. Happy are those who trust the LORD, who do not turn to idols or join those who worship false gods. You have done many things for us, O LORD our God; there is no one like you! You have made many wonderful plans for us. I could never speak of them all— their number is so great! ….LORD, I know you will never stop being merciful to me. Your love and loyalty will always keep me safe. (Psalms 40)
The basis of David’s faith is also very evident in his writings in the Psalms. The basis for his faith was his trust in God’s unfailing love for him. David knew this love. He was a man that changed the world, because he took God at his word, and never doubted God’s unfailing love for him.
Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. (Psalms 6:4)
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me. (Psalms 13:4-6)
For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken. (Psalms 21:7)
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God. I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD. I will rejoice and be glad in your unfailing love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place. Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel. For I hear the whispering of many– terror on every side!– as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life. But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love! O LORD, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol. Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt. Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city. I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help. Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! (Psalms 31)
God made a covenant with David and told him that he would never lack a descendant to rule over his kingdom. The people of Israel never forgot this promise to David, and even in times of captivity by foreign nations they always looked forward to a day when God would restore the kingdom to a descendant of David, the “Messiah.” Ultimately, that promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who was a descendant of King David and born in the city of David, Bethlehem. Today Jesus rules in the kingdom of light in the spiritual realm, and we can enter that kingdom through faith by being born again, as we discussed in a previous article.
But just as David’s experience with God’s unfailing love did not end the day he defeated Goliath, so our experience does not end the day we are born again. We must continue to live in faith, trusting God’s unfailing love for us and engaging in battle with the kingdom of darkness. The spiritual forces ruling in the world today through the kingdom of darkness have set up a world system that is not based on God’s unfailing love and his creation. Today it is based on evolution and man’s own knowledge and achievements. Just as David wrote above, “I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD.” we have our own idols we trust in today, such as science, technology, materialism/wealth, “insurance”, and many other things that are contradictory to trusting in the Lord. If we are trusting in these idols, we are not engaged in battle against the enemy because we are no threat to their kingdom of darkness. It would be like David staying with his sheep on his father’s farm after he had been anointed king, rather than entering into the battle and defeating the giants that got in his way as he trusted in God’s unfailing love to establish the kingdom, the kingdom which was promised to David.
Who do you trust?
Some of you reading this today are facing your own giants, and you are tempted to react as King Saul and his soldiers did in fear, instead of trusting in the Lord with child-like faith in his unfailing love for you. Others of you reading this are not even in the battle because you trust in things around you that the world system has provided and they have become idols in your life. You are not a threat to the kingdom of darkness.
The wonderful thing about the account of David’s life that we find in the Bible, is that he was a person with a lot of faults who made a lot of mistakes just like you and I do. He made terrible mistakes as a husband and father, with his failures clearly recorded, and at times he did not follow the Lord’s leading in his life and abused his power as king. He actually lost the kingdom for a while, and that to a rebellious son. He often blew it, just like you and I do. But his trust was NOT in himself. It was in God’s unfailing love for him. He freely confessed his sins before God. As king, he felt it was his duty to lead the people to praising and serving God, not himself. As he wrote above in Psalms 40 after being rescued by the Lord from his enemies: “He taught me to sing a new song, a song of praise to our God. Many who see this will take warning and will put their trust in the LORD. Happy are those who trust the LORD, who do not turn to idols or join those who worship false gods.”
One other thing I have noticed while studying the writings of David, is that he was often sick – physically sick. The cause of his sickness is varied. Sometimes it is because of sorrow or attacks by his enemies (sins of others). Other times it is because of his own sins.
Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet– I can count all my bones– they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. But you, O LORD, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! (Psalms 22:12-20)
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. (Psalms 32:1-5)
In all these circumstances where he was physically sick, he saw the cure the same way he saw the remedy for all other troubles he went through: God’s unfailing love and forgiveness. He did not deal with physical problems on just a physical level.
Interestingly, we do have an account of one of David’s descendants who became king many years later that DID deal with his physical sickness only on a physical level. That was King Asa.
King Asa started out as a good king, trusting in the Lord as his forefather David had. Early in his reign the Lord gave him a great victory:
And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God. He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim and commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment. He also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the LORD gave him peace. And he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the LORD our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered. And Asa had an army of 300,000 from Judah, armed with large shields and spears, and 280,000 men from Benjamin that carried shields and drew bows. All these were mighty men of valor. Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. And Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. And Asa cried to the LORD his God, “O LORD, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O LORD, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” So the LORD defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. (2 Chronicles 14:2-12)
By trusting in the Lord, Asa was able to defeat an army that was attacking him and that was almost twice the size of his own army.
But sadly, Asa did not continue to trust in the Lord. Later on in life he had another threat to his kingdom, but this time he trusted in the strength of alliances with other countries rather than the Lord:
In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of King Asa of Judah, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and started to fortify Ramah in order to cut off all traffic in and out of Judah. So Asa took silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple and the palace and sent it to Damascus, to King Benhadad of Syria, with this message: “Let us be allies, as our fathers were. This silver and gold is a present for you. Now break your alliance with King Baasha of Israel so that he will have to pull his troops out of my territory.” Benhadad agreed to Asa’s proposal and sent his commanding officers and their armies to attack the cities of Israel. They captured Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah, and all the cities of Naphtali where supplies were stored. When King Baasha heard what was happening, he stopped fortifying Ramah and abandoned the work. Then King Asa gathered men from throughout Judah and had them carry off the stones and timbers that Baasha had been using at Ramah, and they used them to fortify the cities of Geba and Mizpah. At that time the prophet Hanani went to King Asa and said, “Because you relied on the king of Syria instead of relying on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Israel has escaped from you. Didn’t the Ethiopians and the Libyans have large armies with many chariots and cavalry troops? But because you relied on the LORD, he gave you victory over them. The LORD keeps close watch over the whole world, to give strength to those whose hearts are loyal to him. You have acted foolishly, and so from now on you will always be at war.” This made Asa so angry with the prophet that he had him put in chains. It was at this same time that Asa began treating some of the people cruelly. (2 Chronicles 16:1-10)
Then came his physical disease:
In the thirty-ninth year that Asa was king, he was crippled by a severe foot disease; but even then he did not turn to the LORD for help, but to doctors. Two years later he died…(2 Chronicles 16:12-13)
Maybe the doctors were able to manage his disease for a couple more years before he died, but they apparently only operated on a physical level. On the spiritual level, King Asa did not turn to the Lord for help. He died in failure.
So who are you trusting today? Do you live your life with child-like faith believing that you are in the kingdom of light, born again spiritually into God’s family and enjoying his unfailing love? Or are you trusting in the world system around you, which is built upon a foundation of evolution and man’s knowledge, trusting things like the modern medical system which generally believes all sickness is only at the physical level? How about the food you buy to feed yourself and your family? Who are you trusting in when you shop for groceries or eat out? In the US today less than 1% of the population feeds the other 99%, while in the days when Abraham Lincoln was president about 50% of the population was feeding the nation. Are these people supplying our food worthy of our trust? How about government? Do you trust in the government to take care of you the way the people of Israel did when they went to Samuel and asked for a king to be appointed who would solve all their problems and fight all their battles? How about your financial situation? Who are you trusting for that? Are you trusting in insurance companies and retirement funds along with your employer to take care of you during tough times or emergencies? Are they worthy of your trust?
If you are in the kingdom of light, you are currently in the minority kingdom here on earth. Those in the kingdom of darkness out number us by quite a large majority. But we have the greater power! Our power is the Holy Spirit. This power that is available to us is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead! It is up to us whether we want to take the difficult road and put our trust in our Lord Jesus and enter the battle through the Holy Spirit as minorities in our culture, to go “against the tide” as we trust in the Lord. Or we can take the easy road (at least in appearance) and we can trust in the world system and go along with the crowd for the “easier” life, hanging out in the kingdom of darkness when we actually belong in the kingdom of light. However, taking that “easy road” by going along with the crowd and depending on the system which the world has put in place, a system today built upon evolution and human knowledge, is a life full of disappointment, sickness, and a big feeling of emptiness, as I am sure many of you reading this already know.
As was mentioned in the last article, it is important to recognize the true enemy in our daily battle. Flesh and blood people are not our enemies in the spiritual realm. Every human being is created in the image of God and has incredible value. But people walking in darkness are deceived by the ruler of the kingdom of darkness, and his forces. These spiritual rulers and forces are our true enemies. They are in the spiritual realm, not the physical. Those who are deceived and walking in the darkness still have a chance to see the light, and find God’s love and forgiveness. That is why Christ tells us to love our enemies in the physical realm, because we may be their only hope to hear the truth. But they will have no hope of hearing it if we are acting just like them, and trusting in the same things they are trusting in. They will not be able to see the light of God’s kingdom through us.
As was also mentioned in the last article, the Holy Spirit is our power, and it is important to note that the Holy Spirit is a person, not just a force. We must yield and submit to His leading, as we submit to Christ’s leadership. If we give in to sin and the temptation to live like people who are in the kingdom of darkness, we limit the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. At times the Holy Spirit may give us a great victory over a giant, as he did with David on one day. But for most of the time the power of the Holy Spirit will possibly simply empower us to endure the attacks of the enemy, and the opposition from those in the kingdom of darkness, such as David had to endure for over ten years while Saul was still king. God’s timing is perfect, and often we need the power of the Holy Spirit to simply endure and have patience, knowing that in the end everything will fall into its proper place, and we will be victorious.
Jesus will come back and setup his physical kingdom and the powers of the kingdom of darkness will be defeated forever. God loves you with an unfailing love, and he has given you unlimited power through his Holy Spirit. In the meantime, we need to trust God with child-like faith, just like David did. Then we will see incredible things happen in our lives as we see God’s purpose fulfilled in us, and our place in his kingdom. So step out of the darkness and enter into the light! GET IN THE BATTLE AND DEFEAT THOSE GIANTS!!
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes (government). This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? – David in Psalms 118