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.

Relationships

Scripture Text: II Corinthians 6:11-18

11 Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you.
12 There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us.
13 I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!
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? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD . Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.
18 And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty. ”

INTRODUCTION

In previewing tonight text, one subject came to mind immediately and it is RELATIONSHIPS. This passage is about relationships: Pastor to congregation, husband to wife, child to parent and God to man.
Life is about RELATIONSHIPS. All the above are important but of course, no relationship is more important than your relationship to Christ.

I. RELATIONSHIPS ARE BUILT ON TRUST AND AFFECTION

Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!
Let me say in passing, healthy relationships are 50/50 but there are not many healthy relationship. Perhaps one out of ten but that may be a stretch. In most relationship one party dominates the other. One gives more than their share which means the other is taking more than their share.
CAUTION: Most of us here tonight are beyond these instruction but do not take your spouse for granted: it can be a fatal sin when it comes to your relationship. 
It is true that many folks have adjusted to an imbalanced relationship. They do most of the giving but they are content. These are going to the folks our age. Some do not make it to the age of contentment.
Paul was convinced and I have no reason to doubt him, his relationship with Corinth was not 50/50. Paul was open and honest with them but they were restrained. The Greek word that Paul uses is stenochōreō  and it means to be in a narrow place, a strait, or to be compressed, cramped by the narrowness of the situation. In other words, your walking on egg shells in this relationship. There is no freedom for you to be you.
Honesty and openness are vital to intimacy. You cannot achieve intimacy without them. Insecurity is the arch nemesis of honesty. It is for this reason that I counsel those in pre-marital counseling to get profession help if they were abused as a child. Sexual abuse scars a child severely and there is no way they can enter into an adult relationship without the excess bandage creating by the scaring. They cannot forget what happened to them and without proper help, they can’t get beyond it. The number one problem in marriages is lack of intimacy and this is caused by our failure to be honest and open.
Paul was convinced that his relationship with Corinth was one sided: He had great affection for them but they had little for him. He was making all the sacrifices. He was doing the giving. He longed for his love and affection to be reciprocated. It was an unrequited love: a one-sided love that is not openly reciprocated or understood as such by the beloved. The beloved may not be aware of the admirer’s deep and strong romantic affection, or may consciously reject it. Unrequited love is lonely and painful but the beloved doesn’t care.
Paul challenges the Corinthians to OPEN THEIR HEARTS TO HIM.

II. RELATIONSHIPS ARE BUILT ON COMMON INTEREST

Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers.

  • NKJV–Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.
  • NIV–Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.
  • Holman–Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. 
  • NASB–Do not be bound together with unbelievers.
  • GNT–Do not try to work together as equals with unbelievers, it cannot be done.

We assume that Paul was talking about marriage but this is probably not the case but the principle can certainly be applied to the marital relationship. Paul is probably referring to any partnership because the context of the passage is SEPARATION, [v.17] Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD . Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. The Greek word translated ‘Partner’ can mean sexual intercourse but it also means participation and fellowship with.

Paul gives us a list of question to reinforce his point:

  • How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness?
  • How can light live with darkness? 
  • What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil ?
  • How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?
  • And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols?

The Greek word for ‘Harmony’ is the word from which we get symphony. Agreement in sound or sameness is sound. Harmony is being on the same page, on the same song, not necessary the same note.

The core values of a lost person compared to the core values of a saved person are in conflict and so are their world views. Erotic love or romantic love has a way of temporarily overshadowing all other loves but it will not last. “He/she is the one for me, that’s the way it is, I don’t care about all these other things.” This sentiment is not going to last: it will wear off; it is just a matter of time. People fall madly in love and they can’t eat or sleep. This too shall pass, it is temporary. It is infatuation. Eventually, you are going to get hungry.

Because humans are triune beings, body, soul and spirit being joined to another involves the union of body, soul and spirit. When only the bodies are joined, you have a sensual relationship which is driven by lust. It is not only unhealthy, it will not endure. If you have body and soul, that is progress but not ideal, you still do not have full union. Many marriages survive on body and soul but God’s plan is not for you to survive: He wants you the thrive. When two people, both knowing Christ, are joined, they have an opportunity to move to a new dimension because they are joined physically, emotionally and spiritually. Our first needs are physical [food, water, shelter, sex, etc.] but we need more. We want to be loved and appreciated but in time our greatest need is spiritual. Dying people don’t want food. They have no desire for it or need for it. Eventually the SPIRITUAL NEEDS surface as the most important. Young people cannot understand this truth.

Young people are anxious to share a bed but eventually you will take pleasure in sharing a meal, ultimately you will take pleasure in sharing a destiny.

There are some rare exceptions but as far as church work is concerned, your leaders are not going to come from 30 and down because it takes us that long to realize the value of spiritual things. Young people have their face in front of a mirror or cell phone. Old folks don’t do mirrors. I heard a daughter say just last year, “The older my mother gets, the more she reads her bible and she doesn’t even remember what she read yesterday.” This is par for the course. Our values change as we age.

The spiritual dimension gives us a decided advantage because we are endued with agape love; the love from above and it is totally unconditional. It is the way we humans want to be loved.

III. RELATIONSHIPS ARE PARAMOUNT

As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.  Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD . Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.  And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty. ”
I was 40 years old before this truth hit me but when it did, it stuck like a arrow. I had been invited by a former church to preach at a homecoming or something of that nature. When I left the church, there was some tension. I could have dealt with their problems but I did not get the support I needed so I resigned and left with hurt feelings on both sides. It took me years to process the disappointment and pain that I felt personally but when I walked in the building that day and saw some of those folks who had been less then supportive, it didn’t matter. I was glad to see them and they acted like they were glad to see me. 
On the way home that day some 27 years ago, the LORD spoke clearly, “Jack, relationships are more important than riches.” If you’ve being paying attention, you have heard me quote that many times over the last 27 years.
A former son-in-law told my daughter before their divorce, “I don’t want to end up like your daddy, old and broke.” He was never impressed with my income. I have friends who are worth millions but I was never a good business man and I’ve made a lot of bad decisions. Long story short, I don’t have millions. I’m worth more dead than alive. I can’t remember the last time I lay down at night thinking about wealth, how much money I have or down have. Thoughts of money rarely cross my mind. If you think I’m be dishonest, talk to my wife, she goes behind me trying to clean up the mess because I am prone to spend without thinking. It’s a gift I passed along to one daughter and a grandson.
No one is going to stand at my COLS and talk about Bro. Jack the business man and I’m glad. I have little money but I have things that money cannot buy. There are a lot of bad things about greed but one that bothers me a lot is how it hurts relationships. Some people are so greedy for more that they squander every opportunity to build enduring relationships. I see what they are doing and it breaks my heart.
Relationships are paramount. Family is huge and friends are vitally important. I do go to bed at night thinking about my family and friends because they are important to me. Our heavenly Father wants a relationship with us. It was His desire to come to us in the incarnation and live among us, as John said, “to pitch His tent among us.” God not only desires to be with us, He desires to be in us. “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” [v.16]
Jesus Christ came to this world seeking a relationship with us. The whole idea of redemption is unbelievable, why would the Son of God condescend to our low estate to save a wretch like me? There is no answer to this question. It is a mystery.
However, this relationship is not automatic, it does not happen by default. A choice must be made on our part. The LORD says emphatically, “Come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD . Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty. ”
The choice is simple: we turn our backs to this world and move toward Christ. We make a choice between Christ and this world. We can’t embrace both, it is impossible. The world behind me, the cross before me, no turning back, no turning back. The rich young ruler was presented with this choice and he choose the world. I hope you will not make that same mistake.