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It Would Have Been Enough

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It Would Have Been Enough …

“Things are not what they seem”

Antioch Baptist Church

October 17, 2004

10:30 a.m.

2 Samuel 9:3-8

Ephesians 1:4-5; 7-9; 11-14

    Have you ever been the recipient of something that just overwhelmed you?  I’m not only talking about spiritual things, but just things. 

    I remember a couple of years ago; it was Christmas Eve and the family was gathered at my home.  After eating gumbo, turkey and dressing and all the trimmings, we gathered around the tree to open gifts. The grandkids were so excited and my oldest granddaughter, Devrysha, was just going into her teen years.  She had opened several gifts and she was just beaming from all of the nice things that she had received.  She had calmed down and began to help the younger kids with their gifts as her dad sneaked outside and came to the front door.  We had her to open the door, and there he stood with a new 10-speed bicycle for her.  It was just too much.  All she could do was cry.  There was no more room in her to receive that much showing of love at one time.

    Have you ever come to that point in your Christian life?  What do you do with a God who loves you that much? I think we will find the answer in our text today.

Background about David:

    David had been in battle and defeated many enemies, the Philistines, and Moab. He killed some 22,000 Arameans of Damascus.  The Bible says that the Lord helped David wherever he went.  He made a name for himself, and the Lord helped him wherever he went.

Now David had time to reflect and he remembered a promise that he had made to an old friend.  He remembered how he promised Jonathan to always show kindness to his house because Jonathan had promised to warn David of Saul’s intentions towards him.

    We can see in the text here today a type of Christ in the actions of David.  There is a parallel and contrast between their actions for through David we are reminded of how God will:

1. Look you up

2. Take you up

3. Hook you up

Look you up:

    David began to inquire about Saul’s family. He wanted to know if there were any survivors, anyone left.  His motives were pure and He meant them no harm, but to the contrary, well.  He wanted to show the kindness of God to someone in Saul’s family. 

David finds out that there is a son of Jonathan still live.  A son described as being crippled in both feet. Crippled in both feet and in other ways as well. You will remember that when this son, Mephibosheth, (“exterminating the idol” – “Merib-baal”/“Baal is my advocate”) was 5 years old, his nurse thought that he would be killed as a potential heir to the throne, so she set out to hide him.  In there haste, he fell and injured both of his feet.  So, yes, he was lame, he walked with a wretched limp.  His feet looked disfigured from years of an untreated condition, and no one wanted to give him foot rubs.

    But Mephibosheth was crippled in other ways, as the word in the original language suggests.  He was crippled in life.  He was a most unhappy fellow; miserable, pitiful, pathetic and always down and no reason to look up; depressed and dejected, full of strife, contention and rebellion.  He was a measly little man. 

    Have you ever been around a person like that?  Unless you are in the same condition, you don’t want to be around them too long.  They are always whining or feeling sorry for themselves. They are full of doom and gloom, always pessimistic.  Surely all of his life he’d heard how he could have been and should have been king.  He’d heard how David was mighty in war. He’d heard about the relationships between David and his grandfather and his father Jonathan. 

And on top of all of that, he had come to live in Lo-Debar.  A place with a name that means “no pasture”.  There was no grazing land, no meadow, and no enclosure.  People were wild and answerable to no one.  There were no attachments.  He had a young son, but he did not know affection.  There was no tenderness, no warmth, no love and no regard for his person.  He just existed without hope.  But David would look him up.  He inquired about someone to show kindness. 

Take you Up:

    David then proceeded to take him up out of that place, the place where he had been in exile. A place where he was banished, cast out, and an outcast.  He sent and brought him from Lo-debar, the place of no pasture, unrest, and sadness to Jerusalem, the place of the teaching of peace. Out of the darkness into the light.

    Jonathan had a reason to be in Lo-Debar, he was in exile and felt he could not leave, but some of us are in Lo-Debar without cause.  Somebody is not in exile, not been cast out there, not sent away or banished there, somebody here today is just hanging out in Lo-Debar.  You’re walking around in defeat; acting like your name is Mephibosheth (as if Baal is your advocate instead of the Great God of the universe).  Stop acting like you have no hope!  You’ve been called out of the darkness but you have to determine to walk in the light!

    Oh, yes, there was one other characteristic that Mephibosheth had.  He was contrite in spirit. He was a humble man, mainly because of his lowly position in life, and fearful of the mighty king, but contrite and repentive nonetheless.  When Mephibosheth came into the presence of the king, he fell on his face and prostrated himself. 

    He didn’t just come up into the king’s face like he was owed something, or with an attitude.  No, he was meek and lowly in spirit.  Too often today people seem to have the idea that God owes them something, or that He should be glad when they pay Him the slightest bit of attentioneHe.  I believe many of them get that idea from home.  Young people grow up getting everything they can fix their lips to ask for, so when they get grown they just naturally expect everything to go their way.  I find parents explaining to little kids why they can’t have a thing just now.  Psychologists and even ministry persons now believe and teach that it is just unacceptable to tell your kids, the ones you gave life to, the ones looking for their next meal from your labor, the ones privileged to depend on you for everything, no, because I said so! They say you must explain your actions to them.  I guess I just got it wrong as I learned it form my parents because not only did I say no, but added to it “and don’t ask me about anymore”. 

    But Mephibosheth was humble.  He asked no questions and had no expectations.  He had a healthy fear of the king.  We are told to come boldly to the throne of grace, but we are not encouraged to come disrespectfully.

Hook You Up:

    Not only did David look him up; not only did he take him up; but he also hooked him up.  David restored to Mephibosheth all that had been taken, all that had belonged to his grandfather Saul.  He gave him land and cattle and riches and that would have been enough, but he also assigned people to tend to them, to cultivate the land so that it would not become futile. Someone to plant, water, seed and help the land to grow and produce. That would have been enough, but he goes even further and assigns the same people to take care of Mephebosheth and his son and to serve their needs. That would have been enough, but He goes further still and redeems for Mephebosheth the honor to eat at the king’s table, not occasionally, but regularly. That would have been enough, but David made Mephebosheth part of his household, one of his sons.

 And David did all of this for the sake of Jonathan.  Any new king would secure his throne by slaying any and all living relatives of the prior regime.  But David had a stellar spirit.  His thoughts were higher than that.  Kind of like what God means when He says that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than our ways.  Sometimes, in fact most times, we just can’t explain or make logical sense of His goodness towards us.  Even when I know I’ve been wrong, He’s still good.  When I don’t come before Him, and prostrate, He’s still good.  When I don’t feel like praising Him, He’s still good.  He still woke me up this morning, caused me to witness the sunshine of a new day; allowed my limbs to move and function; blessed me with food to eat, a bed indoors, and some clothes to wear.  He’s still good.

Mephobesheth called himself a dead dog.  Dogs then were not held in such esteem as they are today.  Dogs didn’t have their own houses, clothes, doctors, food and the like.  Back then a dog was just a dog.  He thought of himself as one to be despised and dejected; He thought of himself as one without hope and insignificant. He had no goals, no future, and no family except a young son, no attachments, no hope.  He didn’t work because of his disability so he did not socialize. He was on no one’s list of invitees.  He was along in a crowd and dependent upon others to help him maintain this wretched, god-forsaken life. One day Mephebosheth was able to look back and to say it would have been enough.  He looked like that to others but things are not always what they seem

  Looking through some old notes a few days ago, I was reminded of an old movie.  Maybe you’re familiar with it, “The Karate Kid”?

It’s a story about a single mom and her teenage son who moved to California.  Unfortunately, her son had to deal with several bullies who used karate to abuse other kids.  Her son, Daniel, enlists the aid of Pat Morita’s character [Mr. Miyagi] to teach him karate.  Daniel must promise, however, to do everything Mr. Miyagi asks without question. 

At the crack of dawn on successive mornings, Daniel washes and waxes Mr. Miyagi’s collection of antique cars; paints his fence and the side of his home, and sands his deck with a hand-held sander.  All the time, he reminds Daniel of the slow, rhythmic circular and vertical hand motions needed to do each task.

In frustration one evening, Daniel rebels.  He tells Mr. Miyagi that he is tired of being his personal slave and that he has not lived up to his end of their bargain.  “I’ve done everything you’ve asked,” Daniel says, “but you have not taught me one thing about karate.”  Daniel turns and starts to walk away when Mr. Miyagi calls out, “Daniel, wait.”  Daniel stops and turns to face him, and Mr. Miyagi says to him “Things are not what they seem.” Daniel appears momentarily puzzled when Mr. Miyagi suddenly lashes out with his arms and Daniel instinctively uses his hands to defend himself against this unexpected attack.  The hand motions he used were the exact ones he had practiced each time while doing the chores.  Daniel had obviously learned a great deal from Mr. Miyagi without even knowing it.  He learned obedience, discipline, the need to focus on a task, and to respect authority.  Along the way he also learned some rudimentary movements in karate.

The real moral or message is this:  sometimes you may find yourself in Lo-debar.  You might fall into trouble, confusion or out of the will of God.  You may feel like you just can’t make it, but you just have to remember:  You’ve been looked up and that alone would have been enough.  You see, like king David, God has inquired about you.  You may be His child already, or you may be outside of His family and the arch or safety, but He has inquired about you.  He has wondered if there is anybody out there who is living in Lo-debar, anybody unable to find a way out?  He wants you to know:  He’s looked you up!

No matter what may be going on in your life just now, you don’t have to remain in Lo-Debar.  You just have to remember that Things are not what they seem and know that God has taken you up.  You may be at low ebb, unable to make ends meet and nobody even knows the struggle you’re having; you may have been crippled by despair, disease or death of a loved on but, Remember: Things are not what they seem and God has taken you up.  You may be crippled by something from your past, by a defeatism attitude but: Things are not what they seem and God has taken you up.  You may be friendless this morning or feel like you are nothing, a nobody, walked on and talked about, with no one to offer a word of hope, but: Things are not what they seem and God has taken you up..

You may not be able to see down the road and your future may look cloudy, but if you just trust Him, you’ll realize that He has also hooked you up.  If you are a child of God today, you’ve been looked up, taken up and hooked up.  Ephesians 1 assures us of our heavenly hook-up.  He chose us in Him; we are holy and blameless before Him; He predestined us to adoption; in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins and His grace has been lavished upon us; In Him we have obtained and inheritance; and in Him we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.

What do we do with a God who loves us this much?  We praise Him!  Colossians 2:9,10 says, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete…” All that you need, you already have in Him.  Sometimes, we forget all He has done and we act like ungrateful kids.  It’s kind of like when we spoil our kids.  Maybe He just gave us too much!  You see, it would have been enough that He gave thought to us.  But He went even further and planned out our rescue and redemption.  It would have been enough just to send an angel to look us up, but He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ Himself.  It would have been enough if Jesus had come and saw and took the report back, but He came to die and to take us up out of the miry clay, give us opportunity to turn around and then He planted our feet on solid ground.  It would have been enough to teach us the Word, to point the way, to encourage us with His presence, but He lived among men, opened blinded eyes, unstopped deaf ears, fed thousands, raised dead bodies, dueled with the enemy and took us up out of our Lo-Debar experiences. 

Like Mr. Miyagi God has made some deliberate, thoughtful, specially designed plans to look you up.  He has sent His Son, Jesus to lead you out.  Jesus came in the flesh and lived among men; he was even tempted in every point of life that we are tempted so that He could have compassion with us.  He never sinned but He died.  He died willingly so that He could pay your sin debt to the Father in full.  He died so that you could live, eternally in the presence of God. 

Let me tell you what happened.  One Friday morning Jesus was nailed to a cross.  Even though the sun refused to shine, and even though a Centurion guard knew that something out of the ordinary had happened, and even though the earth shook so violently that many graves were opened to release their captives; the Devil began to grin.  His demons were jumping in apparent victory.

Then, Jesus gave up the ghost and He died.  He was taken and put into a new tomb.  A very large stone was used to seal it, keeping anyone from entering and anyone from leaving.  Guards were posted to keep watch so no one would “steal” the body and later claim that Jesus had risen.

But the Devil and his demons didn’t know one thing.  They didn’t realize that He had planned this a long time ago and that certain outcomes were to take place. The Devil didn’t realize that: Things are not what they seem.

OH, BUT HE QUIDKLY FOUND OUT.  My Bible tells me that early on the first day of the week:

§        Somewhere between the time the stars said goodnight and before the sun had time to wake and rise

§        Before the birds went looking for their daily meal

§        Before Mary could make it to the tomb to anoint Jesus

§        While the dew was still clinging to the roses

§        Early on Sunday morning

§        While the stars were slightly twinkling and the morning air was just beginning to blow

Christ got up from the grave.  In effect He let it be known: Things are not what they seem.  And because He arose, you too can count on Him to help you to realize that: Things are not what they seem.

It would have been enough for Him to die on the cross, but He suffered in His body.  Isaiah says He had no stately form of majesty, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him, He was despised and forsaken of men, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.  Surely our grief He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.

It would have been enough for Him to die on the cross but He rose again in three days to ensure that He hooked us up.  He rose to over-see His own will and testament.  He rose so that you can come out of Lo-Debar.  It would have been enough to come out, but He hooked us up and spread a table for us in the King’s palace.  It would have been enough to be allowed in the palace, but He has adopted us into the family, so that now we are the sons and daughters of God. It would have been enough just to be His child, but one day He’s coming back again.  It would have been enough that He is coming back again, but one day, we will be caught up with Him and remain with Him throughout eternity.  It would have been enough, but He has never stopped loving me, that’s why I praise Him and bless His name.

You don’t have to stay in Lo-Debar today.  Whether you are already His or you do not know Him, He is still looking you up, He’ll take you up, and He will hook you up today.  You still have opportunity to come to the place where you can look back and say, it would have been enough and things are not what they seem

§        When it looks like you going to give out, remember, things. . . . . .

§        When your way gets dim and you can’t see because the tears of this life cloud your way, remember, things . . . . .

§        When it seems like your prayers are not being answered, just keep praying because things . . . . . .

§        When the enemy sends trouble home, the kids seem like aliens and your spouse is going in the opposite direction, remember, things . . . . .

§        When you’re tempted to give up because you’ve given out; remember things . . . .

§        When the grass in the other yard seems so much greener, you’d better stay in your own yard and remember, things . . . . .

§        And when Satan tries to tell you that all of your efforts are in vain, that your good just isn’t good enough, just remember whose you are and what God has promised and what He has already done, then remind Satan that things . . . . .

You might be walking in darkness right now and not really know it.  You might think that things are going pretty well.  You might think that because life seems okay and you have no real issues that there is no hurray to give your life to Jesus; that you have time to play around and enjoy some more of the life that you’ve come to love.  All I can say to you is, remember, things . . . . . .

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