Man of Iron

Scripture: 2 Samuel 19:31-38

31 Barzillai [bear-zi-lie] of Gilead had come down from Rogelim [Ro-gee-leem] to escort the king across the Jordan.
32 He was very old—eighty years of age—and very wealthy. He was the one who had provided food for the king during his stay in Mahanaim.
33 “Come across with me and live in Jerusalem,” the king said to Barzillai. “I will take care of you there.”
34 “No,” he replied, “I am far too old to go with the king to Jerusalem.
35 I am eighty years old today, and I can no longer enjoy anything. Food and wine are no longer tasty, and I cannot hear the singers as they sing. I would only be a burden to my lord the king.
36 Just to go across the Jordan River with the king is all the honor I need!
37 Then let me return again to die in my own town, where my father and mother are buried. But here is your servant, my son Kimham [Ken-hum]. Let him go with my lord the king and receive whatever you want to give him.”
38 “Good,” the king agreed. “Kimham will go with me, and I will help him in any way you would like. And I will do for you anything you want.”

INTRODUCTION

Barzillai {Bear-zi-lie} was a highlander from Gilead. He lived in the mountain village of Rogelim {Ro-gee-leem}. I’m sure the village was located on a mountain stream because the name Rogelim means “place of the fullers,” which means the place where they washed clothes. We don’t know a lot about Barzillai other what we have detailed in this story. We do know he was a SENIOR ADULT. I don’t understand why some have such a problem admitting their are SENIOR CITIENS: I love it. I enjoy being a Senior Adult. Why would I enjoy it when so many make fun of the way I walk, my failing memory and my lack of a filter. They made fun of me long before I became a Senior Adult. Most of them are not mean spirited when they make fun of me, they are just having fun and I have fun along with them. One guy did tick me off the other night at a ball game. Some of my friends and family were picking at me about my construction ability and this guy who I do not know chimed in with…”Yeah, he is a jack of all trades and master of none.” I wanted to go slap him but he is bigger and younger than my self.

TRANSITION

I have an idea, lets find a better example of a SENIOR ADULT than myself to talk about today and I think Barzillai is just the man. Alexander Whyte describes Barzillai and as a “Lovable old man with invincible charm.” His name means, “Heart of Iron.” This doesn’t mean he was hard hearted, he had a committed and courageous heart. Actually, he was all this and more.

I. BARZILLAI WAS COURAGEOUSLY LOYAL

David was his king and he loved him. David probably never recovered from the betrayal of the elders of Judah and Israel. All were solidly behind Absalom. David was literally run out-of-town in a shameful and disgraceful manner. Where as he had a large and loyal support among the military, he had become immensely unpopular with the public and the policy makers. Things did not look good for David. Everyone thought he was as good as gone. His enemies cursed him and his fake friends deserted him.

It is easy to be a friend with someone when things are going great for them but can you be a friend to those who are being persecuted, falsely accused, caught in a web of shame and scandal? Many are capable of being fareweather friends but few have the courage to stick with you when you are headed for the gallows. With the risk of facing scorn or even death, Barzillai brought necessary provisions to the hungry, thirsty followers of David. Are we as loyal to our heavenly Monarch as Barzillai was to King David? 

II. BARZILLAI WAS GENEROUSLY KIND

When David and his weary antorogue crossed the Jordon as they flead from Absolom, Barzillai and other were their with provisions. They brought sleeping mats, cooking pots, serving bowls, wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans, lentils, honey, butter, sheep, goats, and cheese for David and those who were with him.

Some times Senior Adults have the tendency to grow selfish in their old age. We have this fear of running out of money before we run out of life. It is a legitimate fear but we cannot allow it to control us. The bottom line is we must trust God. How many times has He failed us in the past?

There are two things we Seniors can do better than anyone else: We can give and we can pray. How many of these young people are head over heels in debt. They drive $50,000 automobiles and live in $300,000 dollar homes. Some of them have mortage payments that are higher than our income. On the other hand, how many of you SENIOR ADULTS are in debt at all? What these kids owe for, you have in a saving account. Guess what: some of you are still saving. How foolish! You are going to lose it all. You say, “I would help if there was a legitimate need.” No you wouldn’t, you would come up with another excuse. Where there is a will there is a way but where there is no will, there is an excuse. Do you not consider the ministries of DBC a legitimate need? Do you think that a $400 dollar house in Guatemalla is not a legitimate need? YOU ARE NOT TOO OLD TO GIVE. Why aren’t you giving?

The second thing we should be very good at is PRAYER. We have more time. I can’t spend time playing ball anymore. I don’t spend time jogging. I can barely walk. My knees hurt so bad I have a hard time going to sleep. I can still work a little but not like I could. My body is old and it demands more rest. I love being retired. I go to bed when I want to, get up when I want to, work when I want to and quit when I want to. It is not uncommon for me to come in at 3:00 or 4:00 oclock and take a shower and a nap. Sometimes I don’t make it until 3:00. Don’t give me excuses, you have more time. What are you doing with the time you have?

I can tell you what we Seniors do best or at least what are number one past time is: its COMPLAINING. If the Senior adults in this church prayed to God as much as we complain to others, we would have revival.

Look at how much complaining Barzillai did:

  • I can no longer enjoy anything.
  • Food and wine are no longer tasty.
  • I cannot hear the singers as they sing.
  • I would only be a burden to my lord the king.

Seniors, it is OK to complain a little, that is who we are but lets make an effort to balance the board: let covenant together to pray as much as we complain.

III. BARZILLAI WAS HONESTLY NOBLE

The King said to Barzillai…“Come across with me and live in Jerusalem and I will take care of you there.” Barzillai had pleased the king and David wanted to reward him. Are we living to please the KING? Little else matters if we do not please our LORD and KING.

David wanted to provide for Barzillai in his old age but the noble and independant Barzilla would have no part of that: he refused the king’s request. Barzillai realized that it was not about himself. He couldn’t really be a lot of help to David on account of his age. He was afraid he would be a burden on the king so he gave the king his own son. He gave him to be king david’s servant. Of course David, out of respect for Barzillai does not make his son a servant. He gave him title to property in Bethlehem where the son built an Inn. Possibly the same Inn that had no room for Jesus.

We SENIOR ADULTS are known for our honesty. One of the kids from the band was in shock the last time I preached on Sunday morning. He came to me after the service and said, “Brother Jack, I enjoyed the message. You are really blunt.” I would have preferred him to say “You are really bold or brilliant” but he said ‘blunt.’

Barzillai was honest and a bit blunt but he knew that the kingdom did not revolve around him. He had no grand illusions about his own importance. His highest allegience was to the king and his welfare. He simply reminded the king, “Things will be OK now, you no longer need me, you need someone younger so I will give you my son. I prefer to go back home and sleep in my own bed. I want to depart this world from my humble abode and to be buried with my parents.”

Noble men and women are rare: they stand on principle. They give no credence to opinion polls. They have no affinity for popularity or praise. Barzillai told David, “If you want to honor me, let me cross the river with you and then return to my home. That will be honor enough.” Wow, these are the words of a NOBLEMAN. Barzillai felt his services were trivial and unworthy of any recompense from David.  He did not want rank or riches: he simply wanted the honor of being in the presence of his king.

John Trapp said of Barillai, “He was a rose that had lost its colour but not its fragrance.” May the grace be ours to grow old gracefully and beautifully! We may lose our color but may we never lose our fragrance.

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Relationships

Scripture Text: Malachi 2:10-16

10 Are we not all children of the same Father? Are we not all created by the same God? Then why do we betray each other, violating the covenant of our ancestors?
11 Judah has been unfaithful, and a detestable thing has been done in Israel and in Jerusalem. The men of Judah have defiled the LORD ’s beloved sanctuary by marrying women who worship idols.
12 May the LORD cut off from the nation of Israel every last man who has done this and yet brings an offering to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
13 Here is another thing you do. You cover the LORD ’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because He pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure.
14 You cry out, “Why doesn’t the LORD accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.
15 Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are His. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.
16 “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty, ” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”

INTRODUCTION

The post-exilic Jews were having a difficult time of things and their attitude had grown sour. Instead of blaming themselves for their predicament, they blamed God and this irresponsibility turned into a bad attitude.


The thing about a bad attitude is that it permeates everything in life. It is hard to isolate a bad attitude. One bad attitude can have a determental effect on an entire family or a congregation for that matter. Right now, our country is suffering from a small minority of people who have a bad attitude.


We have already seen in our study in Malachi, that a bad attitude affects worship, it also affects our ministry {Priestly} and witness. Today, we will talk about how it affects RELATIONSHIPS. A bad attitude can destroy a marriage or a friendship.


Due to the time it takes me to do a three point sermon, I don’t do many these days but this message has four points so I will hurry along.

I. THE PROBLEM

The problem was lust. The Jewish men, including the priest were divorcing the wives of their youth [the mother of their children] and marrying younger women. They were not just marrying younger women, they were marrying pagan women who worshipped idols. The Apostle Paul gives us clear teaching on this matter:

14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?
15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil ? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?
16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols?
This is not just a problem with older men looking for a younger wives: this is a major problem for young people who have never been married. My mother taught me three basic rules:
  1. Never date someone you would not marry.
  2. Never date an unbeliever.
  3. Never date someone you would be ashamed to be seen in public with.

Walter K. Ayers was a country boy from Arkansas. His dad abandoned him and his sister when he was nine and his mom had a stroke when he was 19. Before her stroke, she worked 16 hours a day trying to provide for the two children. Walter did what he pleased. This means he went to school rarely and he failed consistently. He finally dropped out completely in the 8th grade. He got into trouble again and again and was on the verge of being sent to prison at age 19. Due to his mother and the high school football coach, Walter was given one last chance. A part of his probation was to return to school which was a bit of a problem since Walter was 19 and in the 8th grade. Walter thought to himself, I will do good if to stay out of trouble for two weeks but a couple of positive things happened. First, some teachers took an interest in Walter and went out of their way to help him and then a new girl moved into town. He fell for her hook, line and sinker. There was one problem, she was a devoted Christian and Walter hated church: he thought it was for sissies and old folks. The only way she would date Walter was at church. He didn’t like that so he laid down the law, “It either church or me.” She told him quickly, “It will be church.” Then she said “Buy Walter.” Long story short, through his relationship with this uncompromising girl and her pastor who was an all state running back in high school, Walter came to know Jesus. Four years later he answered the call to preach and became a Southern Baptist Evangelist. You can hear his testimony as he preached at First Baptist Dallas with Dr. Wally Amos Crisswold doing the introduction.

Young people: don’t compromise on this issue. Hold to your convictions. Don’t date anyone who is not a believer in Jesus Christ.

Solomon is considered by most to be wise, some say the wisest but Solomon disobeyed God’s direct order by marrying foreign women who were pagans. I Kings 11 gives us the details.


1 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites.

2The LORD had clearly instructed the people of Israel, “You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.” Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway.


Solomon’s rebellion and poor choice marked the beginning of the end for the Kingdom of David.

II. THE PROMISE

Malachi said, You cry out, “Why doesn’t the LORD accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.

Vows are more than a promise. We make promises to each other but vows are made to God. It is one thing to promise to be faithful in sickness and health, poverty or wealth, the good times that brighten you ways and the dark times that saddened your days. But the vow you made was for better or worse and you made it directly to God, not your wife. We all have our better side but we also have that worse side. The key to an enduring relationship is not love, it is commitment. You could translate that into love for Jesus but there comes a time in every marriage where you have to make a decision: Am I to look out for my own personal interest and pursue my happiness or am I to be faithful to my vows?

I don’t think there is a close second, the most frightened I have ever been was during our wedding. I was shaking so bad when June and I kneeled on a little iron alter, that I thought it was going to come a part. Wedding vows are a commitment to God and a vow is sacred, it is a big deal. Those who take a vow to God lightly will suffer the consequences. It is or should be one of the most sacred moments of your life. I make those I marry repeat vows. They are important. They are holy and sacred, something you should never forget.

I married a young couple once against my better judgment. I tried my best to talk them out of it right up until the last moment. The marriage lasted longer than I though, almost seven years. I went to talk with the young man and begged him to reconsider {he had found a new love}. I reminded him of the vow he made, he told me, “I don’t remember making a vow.” I said, “You made it and now you are breaking it.”

III. THE PITFALL

15 Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are His. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.

16 “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty, ” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”


I use the NLT. Joe David uses the NIV and I have been tempted to switch myself but the NLT has such of way of making things clear. Twice you see the phrase, “guard your heart.”


The NIV reads, “guard yourself in your spirit.” The NASB reads, “take heed in your spirit.” But the NLT is so clear, so simple: the biggest pitfall in the martial relationship is the unguarded heart.

The most dangerous thing you can do is take your spouse for granted; to take your marriage for granted and let down your guard. The moment you begin to think that your marriage is invincible, you are in trouble. Most couples get married, settle down, start raising children and in the process, they quit dating, romancing each other. I heard one man put it this way: “My wife is like an old hound, laying on the front porch, you couldn’t run her off if you tried.”  I cringed when I heard him say these words. Eros {Romantic love} is very conditional. It is a fire but it will go out if it is not nurtured. You have to stir the embers, fan the flame and put a stick of wood on from time to time. Once you reach a state of indifference, you let down your guard and you make it possible for someone else other than your mate to get into your heart. Despite what some say, “Intimacy” is the number one problem and the lack thereof is the leading cause of divorce.

When we take our spouse and marriage for granted, we cease to meet needs and unmet needs lead to loneliness and loneliness looks for company. Extra marital affairs begin with this desire to fulfill unmet needs and they usually begin with talking, sharing and listening. In time, an emotional bond is formed which often times leads to a sexual relationship which becomes very destructive to all persons involved.

If you are struggling with unmet needs–guard your heart. Open only to Jesus. Get involved with Jesus in an intimate relationship. Share your loneliness with Jesus. He may not be all you want but He is all you need If you open your heart to a friend of the opposite sex, you are going to get emotionally involved and then you are going to hurt any way you go. There is no easy way out of an extra marital affair. GUARD YOUR HEART.

IV. ONE LAST THING: THE PAIN

16 “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty, ” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”

Verse 16 is one of the most difficult passages to translate in the bible and scholars are divided. The NLT, NASB, AV all… The LORD says, “I hate divorce.” but the NIV reads…

  • NIV–“The man who hates and divorces his wife does violence to the one he should protect,” says the LORD Almighty.
  • ESV–“For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts.”
  • Holman–“If he hates and divorces his wife,” says the LORD God of Israel, “he covers his garment with injustice,” says the LORD of Hosts. Therefore, watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously.

The debate is over the “Object.” What is the object of the hate? Is it divorce or the wife. I am a proponent of using multiple translation. Unfortunately, many pastors are too insecure to do so. It doesn’t matter how you translate the verse: there is a powerful message…

  • “The man who hates and divorces his wife does violence to the one he should protect,”
  • “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her covers his garment with violence.”
  • “If he hates and divorces his wife, he covers his garment with injustice,” says the LORD of Hosts. Therefore, watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously.

You tell me which translation does not communicate a truth. Divorce is violent and treacherous. Only two kinds of people will deny this truth: those who have never experienced divorce and those who are living in denial.

CONCLUSION

  1. Watch your attitude

  2. Guard your heart

  3. Practice love by doing loving things

  4. Don’t exhalt your needs above the needs of your spouse and children

 

The Mind Of Christ

Scripture Text: Philippians 2:5-8, NLT

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  7Instead, He gave up his divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

INTRODUCTION

What is the primary cause of division in our churches? This was covered in our LCBS lesson last Sunday and we have been discussing it on Wednesday nights. The cause of division can be summed up in one word, “Selfishness.” Yes, I am quite sure the devil is involved at some level, but he works through our selfishness. The church at Philippi is divided but we do not know the details. We do know the root of the problem; people were not acting Christ like; they were being selfish. Paul understood that the solution to the problem is to adopt the mind-set of Christ. If we all take on the attitude of Christ, there would be no division in our churches.

William Barclay says three words sum up the “Attitude of Christ,” humility, obedience and service. I am going to add one additional point and make this our outline: HOSS…Humility, Obedience, Service, and Sacrifice.

  1. HUMILITYThough He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  7Instead, He gave up his divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled himself…
    • Christ condescended. Jesus is the Great I AM the God of Abraham. He is the One that was, is and will always be. Jesus is God. However, He did not cling to His rights and privileges as God but took on Himself the form of a human being. The Greeks have two words for form, morphe and schema. Morphe is the essence, the essential nature of a thing. I am a human being. My morphe will never change [not in this life]. Schema is appearance. My appearance may change but my nature will not: I will always have a human nature. When Jesus, the Prince of Heaven condescended, He came down from heaven and entered into our humanity through the portals of Mary’s womb. He became flesh and pitched His tent among us.
    • Christ became Incarnate…He became flesh and dwelled among us. I agree with Dr. Wiersbe and many others that Jesus will always be human. He did not take our humanity for 33 years. His condescension means that He took it for eternity. Taking on our flesh with all its limitations and frailties is one thing but He came in the form of a servant. Jesus was born into a peasant’s home, born in a stable, not a palace. Jesus did not live like a king with people waiting on Him. He took the form of a servant.
    • Christ became obedient. It is much easier to give orders than to take them. Some people cannot take orders. They lack the humility to obey. They want to lead but do not have the humility to follow. In Christ kingdom, you don’t lead until you learn to follow.
  2. OBEDIENCEHe humbled himself in obedience to God.
    • Matthew 26:39— “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”
    • John 5:19–Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever fnthe Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
    • John 5:36–“But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.
    • John 8:28–So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that fnI am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.
    • John 10:18–“No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
    • John 12:49–“For I did not speak fnon My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.
    • John 12:50–“I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”
    • John 14:31–I do exactly as the Father commanded Me.
  3. SERVICE–“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus not only became a human, He humbled Himself to be a servant to other humans. Jesus served the needs of others…Time and time again, we hear Him ask, “What can I do for you?” These are the words of a servant. I don’t think a better illustration can be found than that in John 13….Jesus, knowing that He had come from God and was going away to God, stood up from dinner and removed His outer garments. He then wrapped Himself in a towel, poured water in a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with His towel. Incredible! Jesus washing the disciples feet on the eve of His death. He did what one of them should have done but they lacked the humility to do it. I am afraid our denomination is divided. The Reform movement, which they refer to as a REFORMATION, is generated by pride. They talk about DOCTRINAL PURITY but they do not have the heart of a servant. As a matter fact, they are devoid of all forms of humility. One of their calling cards is arrogance. There is not much that they don’t know. They have solved most of the mysteries that surround God, I look for them to be giving us an explanation of the trinity in a year or two. I know quit of few of their persuasion and none of them have a servant’s heart, they have the uncanny ability to get others serving them. They do speak a lot of truth but not in love. Their attitude betrays them. Jesus was a servant. He never used pressure to persuade any man to serve Him. He challenged and invited but never used force.
  4. SACRIFICEHe humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. At a religious festival in brazil, one of our Missionaries spotted a sign hanging over one of the booths that advertised “Cheap Crosses.” He thought to himself, that is what many people are looking for, a cheap cross. The Cross of Christ was anything but cheap. We will never know how much it cost for Him to become our sin upon the cross. The CROSS is a mystery of LOVE that is so great that no finite mind will every fully comprehend it. The love of Christ, how rich and pure, will never be fathomed. It is so incredible that no man can fully take it in, not more than one could drink the ocean dry. Since it is incomprehensible, it is also indescribable.

What Is Your Handicap

TEXT: 2 Corinthians 12:1-7

This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.

That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

INTRODUCTION

I’ve been in several golf tournaments where they ask for my handicap which is golf is “a measure of his current ability over an entire round of golf, signified by a number. The lower the number, the better the golfer is.” I think the limit for a man is 36 so that would be my handicap. I think this means that if I shoot 108 it is the same as par for a person who has no handicap. I’m not sure but it is my assumption that Profession Golfers do not have handicaps but all the rest of us do. Life is some what different from golf, in life, we all have a handicap. Paul had one, he called it a “Thorn in the flesh” but he never tells us exactly what it was. Tonight, there are three things I want to say about this subject.

FIRST: We all have a handicap. No one is perfect. One way or the other, all of us are lacking in some area; there is something we would like to have that we don’t. I believe Paul’s handicap was something physical. We are all familiar with the Helen Keller story. Helen was born blind and deaf, a double handicap yet she accomplished more than most who have sight and hearing. Moses had a handicap, he says it was a speech impediment. Many people including myself, believe that the Apostle Paul was dwarft, a very tiny man. It explains a lot about his life. Little people are over achievers and many times they have a chip on their shoulder. I don’t think there are any exceptions to the rule, we all have at least one handicap; we all have weaknesses that we had rather not have. Chuck Swindoll wrote a tiny book entitled FRESH WIND where he goes from one bible character to another highlighting their handicap. One chapter is on Jephthah one of Israel’s Judges. Jephthah was a bastard, his father was Gilead and his mother was a prostitute. His father took him in for a time but allowed the siblings to run him off. Jephthah was not inferior physically but he left because of the ridicule and scorn. He was the last person in the world that his village thought would become the leader of Israel, yet he did and was a good one. He is mentioned in the hall of faith, Hebrews 11. He had a lot to overcome as do most of us. No one is perfect, we are all lacking in some area.

SECOND: We are not proud of our weakness. Paul mentions that he has one but he does not tell us what it was. He wrote one third of the N.T. so he could have told us exactly what it was had he wanted to but he choose not to. We don’t normally or at least consciously go around broadcasting our weakness. We all know that the enemy will attack our weakness so there are things that we keep to ourselves. When the Israelites were traveling from the wilderness into Canaan, they went through Moab. Balak the king of Moab tried to get Balaam to curse the Israelites which he refused to do but before he left, he shared with Balak a secret, the weakness of the Israelite men were women and the Moabite women were easy on the eyes plus they were worshipper so Molech so I will let you read between the lines. They seduced the men of Israel and it created great problems. Whether it is boxing or football, the opponent is going to try to exploit our weakness so I don’t know how wise it is to publicize your weakness. Paul was probably exercising wisdom that keep that between himself and God. We all have weaknesses but we are not proud of them.

THIRD: The third thing that is true of Paul is that he learned to live with his weakness, even to use it for the glory of God. Paul said in verses 8-10…Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. I like how the AV states verse 9,  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. I was having lunch with a young man today and he brought up this passage. He is facing a problem that he has no solution for and it has humbled him. Whatever Paul’s infirmity was, it was humiliating. We know that the Corinthians said of him… “His letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. [2 Cor. 10:10] Eugene Peterson paraphrase goes like this, “His letters are brawny and potent, but in person he’s a weakling and mumbles when he talks.” Paul did not get a lot of affirmation from Corinth but he never let it slow him down. Whatever his infirmity, he learned to live with it and even glory in it.

FOURTH: He not only lived with it, he overcame it. Paul was like the violinist who was doing a concert when one of the strings on his violin broke, it made an adjustment and kept on playing. He could have given up and even blamed the violin or its maker but he played with the strings that he had and that is what you and I must do. We don’t give up because we are not perfect and we don’t give in when conditions are not perfect. A young man was selling books in the summer to support himself in school and he happened to be handicapped. He could walk but he had to drag one leg due to a birth defect. He got around, just not as fast as others. He rang a lady’s door bell and she was ugly to him. He thanked her for her time and turned to walk away, after just a couple of steps she saw that one leg was not the same size as the other and she called out to him, “Come back son, I did not realize that you were cripple, I will be glad to buy a book.” He told her that they were no longer for sell and said, “I am selling books not sympathy.” She said, “Doesn’t being cripple color your life?” He said, “Yes mam but thank God, I get to choose the color.” This is how the story ended and I want to know if he sold her a book. Chuck Swindoll says, “You may have only one string to play but play it well. Life is 10% circumstances and 90% how we respond to them which is attitude. You are in charge of your attitude.