Character affords the opportunity (Lesson 2)

  • In our continuing series of the Top 10 Lessons I want to share to my congregation – this is Lesson #2: Character Affords the Opportunity!

The Word of God gives us ample information and background on many of the heroes of our faith.  We can consistently see that the character of the individual opens the door to the opportunity that God has for them.  Here are three Biblical examples:

Esther.  The Bible tells us that Esther made a very positive impression on Hegai (2:9),  the one appointed to look after the young women chosen to be presented before King Ahasuerus.  She was not vain or needy by evidence of her refusal of complimentary items(2:15).  The Bible also tells us that even as Queen she  listened to Mordechai, her cousin that raised her, just as she always had (2:20).  Is it any wonder then that the King was so pleased to see her when she presented herself at his court?  Any wonder that he “hasted” to her dinner both the first night and the second?  Her character in the little things opened the door when things looked dire.

Nehemiah.  In chapter 2 of Nehemiah we see that this cup bearer for the King was troubled by the information he had just received concerning the tragic condition of the city of Jerusalem.  Nehemiah’s countenance was fallen because of this news.   Verse 1 of chapter 2 tells us that the King noticed his demeanor because he “had not been beforetime sad in his presence”.  Wow!  He had never shown up to work sad before.  This was so out of character for Nehemiah that the King of the largest and most powerful empire in the known world at that time stopped all of the business of King’s court to find out what was troubling him.

David.  In 1 Samuel we see the story of young David in the familiar showdown with Goliath in chapter 17.  David’s attention to detail cannot be understated.  In verse 20 we see him rise early and leave his foremost duty (tending to the sheep) in the hands of someone else.  He makes his way to the battle as his father had commanded him to do and leaves his dad’s carriage in the hand of another keeper.  He is coincidentally berated by his older brother Eliab in verse 28 for showing his interest in the events of the battle.   Eliab even questions why he abandoned his sheep to come to the battle. Of course, the Word of God had already told us that he had not abandoned his duties.  Isn’t also interesting that even though David was not watching sheep this day – he still had his sling and his pouch to carry the ammunition?

Esther, Nehemiah and David.  Why did God chose these servant for the tremendously important events for which we know them? Perhaps much can be said for their character in the little details of life which mattered so much to God.  So much so that He recorded these little details in His precious Word.

Top 10 Lessons: #1 – Understanding WHO God is!

I have just concluded twelve years of being the Pastor at Cedar Hill Baptist Church of Dillsburg, PA.  I calculated that I have preached or taught at Cedar Hill over 2500 times.  During these years there are several important lessons that have become key lessons that I want to make sure are emphasized.  These are the top 10 lessons that I want people who have sat under my teaching to remember.  (Note: these are in addition to the foundational truths of Salvation by Grace alone, the verbal inspiration of the Word of God, etc. )

#1  We are to understand WHO God is!  When things become difficult and questions arise we so often center on trying to find out Why is this happening? or When will this trial end? or What did I do to deserve this?  The Word of God teaches us that the correct question is WHO?  Who is in control?  Who knows what is going on? Who set the stars in the heavens?  Who is ruling and reigning on the throne of eternity?  Who?  Who is God?

This does not seem like a natural reaction and it is certainly not the question we want to ask.  In fact, if we are honest with ourselves, it is not necessarily even the answer we are looking for when things are bad.  However, it is the question God wants us to answer.  Let’s look at a few Biblical examples:

Job.   In the book of Job we see the incredible challenges he is up against as he loses practically everything in one day.  He loses his home, his flocks, his children and eventually his health.  Job is searching for the answer to Why?  Why is this happening?  His friends come along to help him answer this question – with their conclusion being that Job must have done something wrong. However, we will notice God’s response beginning in chapter 38.

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,  Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?    

The Lord will go on to build upon the truth of WHO He is throughout chapter 38, 39, 40 and 41.  Job responds in chapter 42 and verse number 2 with I know that thou canst do everything…

 Mary’s Magnificent.  The prayer of Mary recorded in Luke 1:46-56 outlines once again that Mary’s prayer of praise is all about WHO God is!

Solomon’s prayer for the Temple dedication.  In Solomon’s prayer recorded in II Chronicles 6:12-42 he repeatedly acknowledges WHO God is.

When the struggles of life begin to rage – we ask the wrong question. The question is not when, why, or how – rather the question is WHO?  When we find the answer and acknowledge that the Who is God Almighty – the rest of the questions fade away.