Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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David and the Dwarf 7/15/2012
Dearly beloved in Christ,

Last week we heard that ¨strength is made perfect in weakness.¨ In order to better understand what that means in our everyday lives, today we are going to see how this was lived out in the life of David, who though being a young lad with only a sling, killed 9 foot tall Goliath, the champion of the Philistines.

How was it possible that David was able to accomplish that which he did? How did he dare go out to meet the enemy who had been taunting Israel day and night for 40 days? What/Who was he fighting for?

Those are the questions that are in our minds as we consider the account of this lad whose early life is described in the previous chapter, with six characteristics listed. Let us read what is written about David´s early life.

NAU 1 Samuel 16:18 Then one of the young men said, "Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; and the LORD is with him."

As we consider the faith of David as seen in this historical happening, may we be reminded to not look upon our smallness, to not look upon the swords and spears of our enemies, to not listen to their words of haughty rebuke, but to look only on the Living God. The battle is His and He has overcome all enemies through His victory on the cross.

Lord, I ask that this message be brought to assure, encourage and direct young people into the world that they are entering into, so that they will not be pulled into thinking that they are made for this world, but that you have made them for you and your kingdom.

The Scene
KJV 1 Samuel 17:1 Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim.
2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.
3 And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.

Goliath Comes Forth
4 And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
5 And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass.
6 And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders.
7 And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.

Goliath Challenges Israel
8 And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.
9 If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.
10 And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.

Saul and Israel's Response
11 When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.

David and His Brothers
12 Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.
13 And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.
14 And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul.

David in His Father´s House
15 But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem.
16 And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.
17 And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren;
18 And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.

Meanwhile on The Battlefield
19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.

David Comes Into The Scene
20 And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.
21 For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army.
22 And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.
23 And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them.
24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.
25 And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel.

David, wondering if he heard right, asks two questions
26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
27 And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.

David in a way repeats the question, but corrects the statement. Instead of saying "defy the armies of Israel, David says, the armies of the living God.. He is saying it like this: WHO is this uncircumcised Philistine, (not of the promise of Israel) that he would dare to defy the armies of the living God? Who does he think he is anyway? Speaking from a place of faith, David in so many words is saying, How absurd to do such a thing, "A dwarf going up against the living God????"

His oldest brother ridicules David
28 And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled (burned) against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.

Instead of giving David a hug, instead of asking about their father, he met him with anger; instead of admitting that David was in the right, he attacked David. Elias was afraid of Goliath, and in this fear, he went on the attack. When we are wrong we need someone to tell us so, but often times in those times, we go on the attack against those who want to help us see things rightly.

Elias is jealous for himself, David is jealous for the glory and honor of the LORD. He haughtily accused him of leaving a "few" sheep, acting like he knows what is in his brother's heart. He tells him that he did not come down to be in the battle, but to simply watch the battle. What battle is Elias talking about? There is no battle going on? They are sitting on the sidelines in fear.

David Responds to His Brother
29 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? (Can't I even talk)?
30 And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.
31 And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed (repeated) them before Saul: and he sent for him.

David Before Saul
32 And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.
33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.

At first it seems kind of presumptuous for David to say what he did in verse 32. Don't fear, your servant will go and fight this Philistine. Saul must have been astounded at David's bravado, but he then spoke as to how he saw it. He said in so many words, ˙ou cannot be serious, can you? Saul's response was right on according to human wisdom, and who could fault him. But Saul had quit listening to the voice of His LORD and had been reduced to one who sees only through the eyes and abilities of man. Saul had lost confidence in God, and had confidence only in man and his strength. He speaks now in a man centered way. Saul saw Goliath as a huge giant, while David saw Goliath as a dwarf.

David Reveals His Trust In God
34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.

David reveals to Saul of the past deliverance and of future deliverance. David does not respond to Saul´s assertion that he is just a little shepherd boy, for he remembered God´s provision for him in his past. Because the Lord was faithful in the past, He is being faithful in the present and will be in the future. David had a good memory and he brings it forward in sound thinking. God is no different in the past, present or in the future. What is at stake here is God´s name. Faith is like a fuselage of an airplane, memory is one wing and logic is the other wing. Consider the following verse from Proverbs.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

We are not told not to use our insight, but we are not to rely on our insight. We bring these things into who God is and how He has revealed Himself throughout history If we did not have God in the past, how would we make application in the present and the future. Therefore, our memory and our logic is important for us to be able to rightly look at our present and to look to the future.

Keeping of a journal can help us to keep going when the days are more difficult. Through those recorded happenings, we can logically think that the same God who was with us in the past will be with us today and will be with us in the future. Our emotions, attitude and feelings vary so much that we can be lost in despair if we only rely on our feelings of the moment and do not have our past memories of recall to fall back on.

David remembered the faithfulness of God in the past in his life and he looked on the present Goliath as a dwarf!!!

Saul Grudgingly Yields to David´s Faith But Conditionally
38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.
39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.
40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

Saul put his armour on David, putting a helmet on him, along with a coat of mail, and David took the sword, but soon said, "This will not work." How can someone else's experience be ours? We can learn from others, but we must go through our own trials in order to be properly "fitted" to serve the Lord in the manner that He wants us to. We cannot simply copy someone whom we think is the proper model, other than, of course, Jesus Christ, somehow thinking that we will succeed because they succeeded. We need to be ourselves, molded and fashioned after Jesus Christ through following Him.
David put off the armor, took five stones out of the brook, put them into his shepherds bag and drew near the Philistine, seeing the Philistine as a dwarf.

To those watching, it must have looked absolutely foolish. They saw a confident, arrogant and fully armed Goliath being approached by a miniature, unarmed foolish young man. They waited in trepidation, dread, fear......

The Showdown Nears
41 And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.
42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.
43 And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? (sticks, shepherds staff) And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.

Goliath now approached David, and true to his being, looked with disdain upon this joke of a challenge. He was offended that David would be so brazen to approach him like he was a dog. He cursed David by the only gods he knew, the false gods. He invited David to keep coming so that he could kill him and make him food for the birds and animals. But wow was this dwarf in for a surprise!!!!

Faith Sees As God Sees
45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.

David, seeing the dwarf nearing him, told him that it was not like the dwarf thought in his mind. Goliath thought he was so big and intimidating that David would wilt in front of him when he got close, but he was so wrong. David, being full of faith, looked at the nearing showdown in a totally different manner: David looked at the giant as a dwarf. He turned the tables on the dwarf, pointing out to him that he was coming in his own strength, but that he (David0 was coming in the name of the Lord of Hosts, who is the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied! He went onto tell the dwarf that instead of David being meat for the animals, he, the dwarf will be animal food. He then tells the dwarf that through this victory of faith that all of the earth will know that there is a God in Israel and that those present will know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear: for it is His battle and He will give you (dwarf) into our hands. Note that David does not say my hands, but he uses the plural, for he understood that he was representing all of Israel, the children of the Living God of Israel!

Faith Runs To The Challenge
48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.
51 Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.

The biblical writer now describes Goliath simply as the Philistine, saying that he arose and came to meet David. Evidently he was sitting down, most likely laughing arrogantly, playing with David like a lion will play with its prey before killing it. The Philistine arose as David approached, drew closer to David.and what did David do? He ran towards the dwarf, not away from the giant. He then took out his sling, put a stone in it, slang it around his head, and let loose of the stone into the forehead of the dwarf, who fell.... To David, Goliath was go big that he could not miss him. Then taking Goliath's sword, he made sure that Goliath was indeed death.. Upon seeing their champion dead, the armies of Philistia ran away.

This account has been familiar to many of us since our youth, for it is one of the foundational Bible stories that we hear and read about in our childhood. There are many applications, many of which we have interpersed through the text with our explanations, interpretations and comments. There is one more that I would like to leave for our consideration as we close this time together. Please consider the following.....

In the beginning of this writing, we made mention that we desired to use this part of the life of David to illustrate of what it means that strength is made perfect in weakness. What that means it that we rely entirely on God's provision for our protection, our deliverance and our victory in, over and through all things. David, remembering the deliverance of the God of his past, continued to trust in the God of the present, and therefore he trusted in the God of the future. Logic told David that since God was the same yesterday, today and forever, by faith He could expect deliverance in this battle. He looked upon the giant as a dwarf, for he saw through the eyes of God. To those watching, it was the opposite, For instead of seeing the faith of David running up to the dwarf, they saw a foolish boy running to certain death by a giant.

Now, let us allow our minds to move ahead in time to a scene of a bloody, bruised man, being led up a hill outside of Jerusalem, to a place where he would be nailed to a tree, where he would be mocked, and laughed at. Consider how foolish this looked to those who did not understand what was going on. They must have thought that this is crazy...
This man Jesus who had turned the religious world upside down, had challenged the church leaders, had spoken directly against their ways of honoring the God of Israel, now was meekly throwing in the towel, apparently admitting defeat by allowing himself to be led to be killed on a cross like any other common criminal. But wait, is what they are seeing and concluding correct?

In a way, it is....For they are seeing the greatest power being exhibited in that God through His weakness reveals His greatest strength and power. In allowing himself to be delivered for our offenses, He is making provision for our reconciliation back to himself. The watchers did not understand it at that time, but some of them did later. The world, the devil and our flesh that watched that day must have rejoiced that they had killed the One who made them feel guilty, made them feel unclean, made them defensive, but they were mistaken. He died yes, but He arose from the dead.......

What really happened was that which God had promised in the book of Genesis:

KJV Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

He spoke of the future arrival of Christ to earth, to the day when He would in apparent weakness lay down his life so that we would die with Him and be raised with Him to life.

David, slaying Goliath, can be likened unto that which Jesus accomplished thorugh apparent weakness in that he meekly went to the cross to lay down his life, and in so doing cut off the head of Satan. He is defeated forever more, Today as we celebrate this victory of Christ Jesus through the cross and resurrection, may we use the same logic that David did as we come before His table in victory and joy. May we remember our past deliverance through Him, may we rejoice in the peace that we enjoy in Hiim today and may we proclaim His/our victory at the cross until He comes again!

In His victory we rest,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 15 Jul 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Strong in Weakness 7/08/2102
Dearly beloved in Christ,

On Wednesday we celebrated our 236th birthday as a nation, for which we give thanks to the One who has made all things, Who has given us our nation and our freedoms and the One to whom we look to for the protection and preservation of our country's future.

A few weeks ago we heard a sermon which spoke of how God's people wanted Samuel to give them a king who would be like the kings that that other nations had and even though God was displeased with the motive of their request, He yielded to them and gave Saul to be their king. Saul did not work out as he disobeyed the Lord's will and he was removed as king in favor of King David who was anointed to be the new leader by Samuel (1 Samuel 16). He also was anointed by the elders of Israel, an occasion which is described in our Old Testament reading that Doug will read for us today. (2 Samuel 5:1-10)

The Psalm (48) that Dave will read certainly could have been the praise song of the people who were at the anointing of David as the new king, for praises are sung of the greatness of God, of the superiority of His kingdom over the kingdoms of men, and how it is established and will exist forever!

Our sermon today speaks of life within this eternal Kingdom of God.. Through the eyes of the Apostle Paul, we will be invited to consider as to how he responded to adversity that came his way as the result of his being a child of the Living God. May the Lord open up our understanding so that we may be assured, encouraged and directed in our Christian journey as we listen and think upon His Word as it is revealed into our hearts by His Spirit today.

2 Corinthians 12:9b My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Have Jesus ever spoken to you? Have you ever heard His voice by which He spoke directly to you? Has your sense of helplessness ever got to the point that you were at a loss as to how to proceed in life and then....and then, you heard His voice. I do not mean in the ordinary and usual manner through His Word and by His Spirit, but I am meaning a more direct manner in which you actually heard His voice speak into your mind, into your heart, into your soul, into your life.

If it has not happened to you or to me, could it happen in the future? According to the biblical record, it did happen to our brother Apostle Paul, who we will draw alongside today in order to consider an experience in his life which should give us encouragement as to the faithful care of the Lord toward our lives. Therefore, if it happened to him, it certainly can happen to us.

Our text is found in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians, chapter 12:1-10. Here is the Word of the Lord that we will meditate upon today.

KJV 2 Corinthians 12:1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
(ESV 2 Corinthians 12:1 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.)
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

As you and I spend time with our Lord and Saviour in His Word having fellowship with Him, we learn about those who lived before us, those who God raised up to be His witnesses and messengers through the years. As we spend time reading of that which they did and said, we in a sense get to know them from the heart. Because the Apostle Paul wrote much of the New Testament, we have opportunity to get to know him better than any other person (outside of Jesus) in the New Testament. As we think of this today, we are reminded that it takes time to sit down and to listen to another speak in order to get to know them from the heart. It requires us to listen. This is true in our relationship with God, with Jesus, and with all others whom we have opportunity to seek to build our relationship with.

In various epistles, the Apostle Paul writes of his former life as a religious Pharisee, of his conversion to Christianity and through many of his writings , we are then able to follow his life as a Christian, who lived his life for Christ and not for himself. There is so much written about him that it is easy to fall into the temptation to know him only on a superficial basis and lose the blessing of getting to know him from the heart. Our text today offers us a little insight into the struggles that he faced as a result of his calling as a Christian, a struggle which we should all be able to relate to. For sure, Paul was a chosen vessel of Christ, one who was called to suffer greatly on behalf of the name of Christ, and that is accurate to say that he was a great minister who was faithful unto death. But we need to remember that even though he was a chosen vessel, he was yet one of us, for we are all chosen vessels to bear witness of our Great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Paul was a Christian, just like we are and in that sense we are all in the same boat.

The Apostle Paul has been defending the ministry into which he has been placed by Jesus. He began to write of this defense back in the beginning of chapter 10 and has, in short, emphasized that he wants those to whom he is writing, to come to follow Christ from the heart by the Spirit and hopes that he will not have to use stronger means to protect them from error. He continually resists the temptation to "toot his own horn," has not been afraid to speak of his sufferings which he has had because he is a minister of the Gospel of Christ, all the while contrasting his ministry with the ministry of the false teachers. We are given an insight into his heart at the close of chapter 11, where we hear the Apostle speak these words:

2 Cor 11:22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.
23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?

30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:
33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

We then come to our text for today.

KJV 2 Corinthians 12:1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
(ESV 2 Corinthians 12:1 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.)
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)

The KJV is very difficult to understand with its wording, so I have included the ESV version. The original says something like "to boast is necessary, but not to one's advantage, but I will go onto visions and revelations of the Lord." When we think of boasting we immediately get a negative sense of the use of the word, for the Scriptures continually speak against wrong thinking of ourselves, in that we be prone to think too highly of ourselves. Why is Paul taking this approach, even if he does say that there is no benefit to it, but yet the Holy Spirit has directed him to take this approach. Let us depend on the Spirit to show us our answer.

The first thing we notice is that this happened fourteen years ago......Secondly, he does not say "I", but he uses the third person. Wow....

Let us think about these two points that have been made. Even though he had that experience fourteen years ago, he apparently had never spoken it publicly until this time. Wow, wow! How could he not have told the world about such an experience?? What a private experience that must have been between God and himself!!! There are those things that are so close between our God and ourselves that they are not to be shared with just anyone, but yet there may come a time when it is necessary to do so. Lord, may you give us insight into this important truth that we have seen here today..

Wow....Then by using the third person, he put his own glory as far away from himself as possible as he was a man of humility, one who did not seek his own glory, which would be easy to do because of what he experienced. He distanced himself for fourteen years of silence by not speaking of that experience, and now when he did speak of it, it was from the third person.

Wow...Could I illustrate this place with a humorous personal experience but yet speaks directly to this example of humility? Within our family of my siblings and my children, there has been a bantering back and forth of the use of the term "a guy". Let me explain... In my former life as a logger, we would often plan the work ahead and when we would intend dictate as to how we/I would do something, rather than say, "I would do this or that" we/I would say, " A guy should do this here and that there," and those who have heard it have wondered why we do not say, "We/I should to this here and that there."

We have wondered as to how and why we have got into that practice, but have not really been able to determine its beginnings. It has been suggested that we got it from our uncles who were loggers, but we are not sure. Regardless, we have come to recognize that whenever "a guy" is said, that it is a reminder that it is always good to resist the temptation to point to much to ourselves and in so doing, think more highly of ourselves than we should. It is good to consider in our words and our writings as to how many times the word "I" is used.

Well, what about the "guy" that is being spoken of here? What is being said about the "guy?"

4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

He was caught up to paradise, a word that is used only three times in the Bible. Here are the other two...

Assuming that the “first heaven” would be atmospheric heaven (the sky) and “second heaven” the more distant stars and planets, “third heaven” would refer to the place where God dwells

KJV Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
KJV Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

He does not say what he saw, but only what he heard. That which he heard was "unspeakable" (too sacred to be spoken or unable to find words to properly describe it) It was not permitted for him to speak that which he had heard.........

Now he identifies the "guy"...as himself, Paul.

5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

Paul was not deluded into thinking that he was better than others, that he had more spirituality than others, for he yet knew that he was a sinner, yet saved by grace. He kept separate as to who he was outside of the saving grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. He was a nothing without Him.

May I illustrate this with a recent communication that I got from a dear friend, for in this short paragraph he reminds us how to think of ourselves in humility.

"Well I thank JESUS for the blessing that it is to be able to be here. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the incredible Grace and Mercy of my Jesus! I don't ever feel worthy to be here or to stand in front of anyone, and I know I'm not.. I just have to pray each time that God would use an unworthy, unprepared, wretch of a sinner like me to bless and help grow whoever is hearing, and not even take me into account. I'm so thankful for His patience with me, and the fact that He can use a twisted pot like myself. I am so thankful for the power of His Word, and the fact that it does NOT depend on me for Him to touch someone through the preaching of His Word! So ALL glory be to God for whatever little He has been able to use me for here. If it depended on me and my strength, who knows where I would be in this world! :)" Ryan Ruotsala, Zacapa, Guatemala

Now Paul goes onto speak of some of his inner experiences that came as a result of this revelation. He speaks of that which God has allowed to come into his life in order to keep him in a place where he is useful to the Lord in the ministry, as a result of his being given the vision and revelation which he describes as being heard only. He does not say anything about seeing.

Is Paul revealing this vision and revelation to the the hearers so that they can see that there is far more to being a witness and messenger of Jesus Christ than meets the eye? Possibly. It is like Paul is allowing us to see a very intimate part of his life in order that we/they will be instructed in this matter.

Illustration: "Some years ago I attended a ladies luncheon. The speaker that day was a lady, who had been through horrendous loss. Her three daughters were traveling to another city for their brothers weding and were killed in an auto accident. As she came on the stage and began sharing her story, I found myself a bit lost in thought. I was thinking that she was so pretty, and that she had such a clear and powerful way of presenting her message. Envy was creeping in as I witnessed her grace and poise and I had thoughts like, "boy, I wish I was like her, I wish I could share like she does."

Then the Holy Spirit came to me and I was hit with reality. "Do you really want to have walked her road? Do you wish to have lived through her tragedy? Do you want to go through the heartache and grief that has brought her to where she is today?"

I need to be reminded to be thankful and content with what and who God has made me. Beth Wirkkala

6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

The tension between his pride and Christ's humility is seen here. He recognizes that temptation to be proud, but also realizes that to yield to that is to be a fool.

He speaks of how he cried unto the Lord three times, for the "thorn" to be taken away. What was his thorn? It is left for us
to wonder, but we do know that it was allowed for a specific purpose, which is detailed here. Did he plead with God over a long period of time in the fourteen years? We do not know, but we do know that it was three times that he pleaded with the Lord for its removal.

At first he looked at the thorn as an enemy of his, but then understood that it was given to him for his blessing so that he could be a blessing to others.

He got a response from the Lord and Paul responded rightly...
9a And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

9b Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Application: Even though this mainly applies to difficulties which come into our lives as the result of our witness for Christ, it applies to all of us, for we stand with Christ not only in speaking the words of the Gospel, but when believe God and trust Him above all else, we will be tried and persecuted. It can be without, but it also can be within.

When I am at the end of my rope, I am weak

When the way ahead seems blocked, and I do not know what to do, I am weak.

When I have no one else to turn to, I am weak.

When we turn to the Lord, we are made strong in faith

I asked in the beginning if anyone had ever heard the Lord speak to them. I want to share some testimonies of those who have heard the Lord speak to them when they were weak, and as a result of their acknowledged weakness, they were made strong in faith

From Grandma
"When Annie was very sick and had recently been diagnosed with her sickness, I was awakened one night by an angel, whose appearance gave me comfort right away. And then I knew that Annie would be taken care of. Right after that, the angel went through the wall to Annie's room."

And now from Grandpa:
"There was a time when I was feeling discouragement with her sickness, as it was continuing on with no changes for the better, my hope was failing and I did not know what to do. I fell before the Lord in a desperate prayer and Karen to did the same. As we were before Him, crying out to Him for His help and comfort,I felt a hand touch my shoulder and I knew it was the hand of God being placed on me and I then felt comfort and peace. It was not just me that felt His hand, but my wife Karen also felt the touch of the hand of God at that time."

From Kevin, Doris' son, Pat's brother:
When Kevin woke up in the night, his father Kenny told him; "I had a visitor in the night, God came and said, "Everything is going to be ok."

What does it mean for you and I?
It means that we continue to be Christians and as husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, or whoever we are in a world does not honor God's family design.

We continue to live in this kingdom of God regardless of the cost, knowing that whatever experiences we are given in life are designed to work for our good so that we may be a blessing to others.

It means that we allow the Lord to direct our life so that we may serve him first of all, and are ready to accept his training plan, even at the cost of our personal comforts, even hardship, tragedy, loss and so on.

It means that in our weakness God is able to bring encouragement and strength to our hearts and in our lives.

Jesus spoke these final words of encouragement to His disciples, speaking before the fact as if it was after the fact.
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

KJV 1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Who are the victors? We are the victors through Christ and in Christ, which is through faith!!

May the Lord add His blessing to this meditation today through the enlightenment of His Holy Spirit!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 08 Jul 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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David and the Dwarf 7/15/2012
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.