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the virtue of Uriah

Having set the contrast between David and Uriah in the last blog, I would like to expand on Uriah’s virtue. You see it so clearly in his response to David. Explaining why he did not go home to be with his wife (and cover up David’s sin) Uriah says:

“The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.” (2Sa 11:11)

Uriah was called back to inform David of what the battle was like in the expectation that once back in Jerusalem, he would take advantage of his own bed being so close by. However, what Uriah shows is that while he was involved in battle, that it was inappropriate for him to be involved in civilian affairs.  Much like what Paul told Timothy:

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. (2Ti 2:3-4)

What Uriah did was something that I think is a bit unusual for us today. (Which doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be usual, just that it isn’t.) He was willing to continue sharing in the sufferings that his fellow soldiers and commanders were enduring. While we may not have blamed Uriah from taking David up on his offer, Uriah’s adamant reply indicates that he saw things differently.  The question is “Do we?”

In the spiritual battle that we are engaged in, do we insist on our own luxury and comfort or are we willing to forego “our rights” in order to help others? In the book of Acts chapter 4, the early Christians sold properties and houses in order to help those fellow Christians who had needs. In that way none of them was needy.  Those that sold were saying the same thing as Uriah was “if others must dwell without comfort, I will to”

A side note on the helping of others. We get into trouble when we think of peoples wants as their needs. I have no doubt that the issues were temporary ecomonic one, still the ‘needs’ were what were met not the wants. If a family is hungery and you can feed them, then do so but you might draw the line at their new leased car, Air Jordan shoes, mobile game device and the like. If a person does not have cable, cell phone, and a good looking car, they will not die! 

We should be less attached to the comforts of this world and more attached to the world which is to come. Many of us have a great deal more than we need. (Emphasize that last word: NEED) It is not wrong that we have more and many of the Bibles characters were wealthy. We certainly don’t want to improvrish ourselves to the point of being in need of others help too but if we were to downsize our lifestyle and help our fellow Christians in their needs, I suspect we would find more peace.

We should take care of our needs and those of our family, we should be willing to help support those who have needs in their lives starting with our fellow Christians first and we should help suppor those who preach the Gospel (not necessarily those who stand on TV and plead for money for their own ministries. Find those who are actually doing it…plenty around).

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The Parable of the Sower

The parable of the sower is an agricultural analogy. It uses something that we, with our limited spiritual perceptions,  can easily understand in order to offer us an insight into the spiritual truths that Jesus understood perfectly well.  Unless you are like the kid in the city who thinks that apples come from the store, not tying the apple to an apple tree, you understand that seeds need to have a good environment in which to grow.

The seed in this parable is the word of God.  It is spread everywhere as the sower goes through the field. The different types of soil represent those that hear the word and how they respond to it, how the word grows in their life, and ultimately tells us what kind of soil they are. In this lesson, one of the most interesting of the soils is the thorny soil.

It would be understandable to listen to this parable and conclude that only 25% of the soils (the good soil) produces anything. However, that is not quite true. The thorny soil also produced something…thorns. In fact, it may be concluded that if the thorny soil did not have the thorns that the seed also would have produce good fruit. In other words, the only reason for being unproductive is the thorns.

This makes it imperative that we understand what these thorns are. Understanding them helps us take a measure of our life and remove them if we find them. These thorns will choke the word of God and make it unfruitful if we do not remove them.

The thorns are the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things. These three items pretty much cover it all:

  • the cares of the world are those things that the world cares about. What does the world care about? See Luke 12:30 Food, drink and clothing.  Yet we are reminded not to be like them. Our Father knows what we need and we should be content if we have food and clothing. I Tim 6:8
  • The deceitfulness of riches are seen in those who think that wealth is going to provide everything that they need. This is not the case. Luke 12:16-21
  • The desires for other things include anything which God has not authorized. Desire that goes beyond what God has provided to us is wrong. Ahaz wanted Naboth’s field, Korah wanted the leadership position of Moses, Ananias and Sapphira wanted praise of man.

We get these thorns from the world and from our upbringing. Some who serve the Lord have been called out of the world others have been raised in the church but the influences of the world have crept in. Some of the thorns that have been brought into Christian families are these:

  • Getting an education. This can be an important thing but families should never put so much emphasis on the grades a student gets in school while neglecting the spiritual education. The job will not save their soul.
  • Buying a house because renting is bad. I don’t know who thought of this but it seems pretty common knowledge. If you rent for to long, you have ‘nothing to show for it’. Unfortunately, people rush others into buying and it becomes a burden. I could refer to the statistics of foreclosures going on right now but simply consider that the Bible says with ‘food and clothing’ we will be content…it does not say ‘shelter’.
  • Debt is ok. There is really something wrong here and especially when you are buying something that is a ‘want’ rather than a ‘need’. When you do this, you are in effect saying that God is not able to provide for me so I will borrow from the future and promise to pay it back  later. When you don’t even know if you have a tomorrow…

To get rid of these thorns one needs to keep his eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:1-2), add characteristics that allow us to see what is truly important (2 peter 1:9) and learn to be content with things you may consider to be less than you should have. (I Tim. 6:3-11)

Happy weeding!

Here’s the sermon: http://lostpineschurchofchrist.com/media/The_parable_of_the_sower.mp3

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