• Matt Beaney

DEVOTIONAL 4 – YOU ARE INVITED INSIDE (1/12/19)

Updated: May 13


CONTENTS

1. Come to Jesus Daily Devotional (A daily devotional for Monday through Friday)

2. Community Group/Family Devotional

INTRODUCTION TO WEEK 4

Last week we saw how David was a ‘man after God’s own heart’. David’s heart pleased God. We considered how we can have our own heart renovated as we invest in things that God uses to transform us on the inside.

This week, we will see that David was not considered, even by his family, to be the obvious choice for God’s calling. We all, on occasion, will feel overlooked or even rejected; if we are to avoid becoming like Saul - becoming bitter and vengeful - we must all learn to enjoy God’s love and choice of us over and above how we feel or how people treat us.


1. COME TO JESUS DAILY DEVOTIONAL


MONDAY - THE OUTSIDER

Why are we so prone to feeling rejected and prone to rejecting others? This issue is deeper than many of us think. Of course, our upbringing and experiences can make us more vulnerable to these feelings and actions, but, underlying this, is our sin or ‘fallenness’.


Adam and Eve - insiders became outsiders

Our separation from God and one another stems from ‘The Fall’ of mankind. The serpent made Adam and Eve feel that they were outsiders in regard to true knowledge (Genesis 3:1-5). Man chose to rebel against God, which brought sin and its effects into the world. In Genesis, Sin is summarised as ‘death’ (Genesis 2:17). This death has many effects - all that is evil in the world is this death.


Death (sin) has three primary components:


Firstly, it is spiritual death, our relationship with God is broken through sin, Before we receive Jesus, Isaiah’ words were true of all of us,

‘Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.’ (Isaiah 59:2)

Secondly, Our relationships with one another are also broken, particularly those between husbands and wives (Genesis 3:12; 4:8).


Thirdly, creation, including our physical bodies, is broken and decaying in ways that were not true before Man’s rebellion (Genesis 3:17-19; Roman 8:20-23).


All of these results of Adam’s sin lead to our propensity to reject and feel rejected. We were made for a relationship with God and deep unity with others, without which we experience dissatisfaction and disharmony. Jesus’ mission, we could say, was to turn ‘outsiders’ into ‘insiders’ - Christians become insiders with God, a part of His family and have gifts and purpose; Christians also become insiders with people - because of their security in God’s love they learn to love those who reject them, and learn to deal with the ‘outsider’ emotions by standing in the love of God.


RESPONSE

Do you know that, before you received forgiveness in Jesus, you were an outsider? Has the greatness of your salvation lost it’s ‘wow-factor’? Are you still, like the Prodigal son, amazed that the Father doesn’t keep you at arms-length, but welcomes you home to the family? Do you live life with an ‘outsider’ posture? Do you face life prone to rejection and rejecting others or are you facing life as a chosen child of God?

TUESDAY - THE INSIDER

‘Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” (1 Samuel 16:10-11)

Whilst David was overlooked by his family when Samuel came to visit, he is in God’s view. In fact, we could say that whilst David was outside, he was still inside with God.

It is often the case that my joy is dependent upon how others treat me - feelings of rejection cut too deeply and too easily. David, in this episode, must surely have been tempted to wonder, ‘why haven’t I been invited to the party?’ However, we read nothing of this kind of response. David, was tempted with feelings of rejection - feeling like an outsider - like all of us. We see a hint of this in his defensive response to his brother’s attack on him (see 1 Samuel 17:29-29). However, David had an ‘insider with God’ heart, which enabled him to rise above his being excluded or spurned.


Psalm 57

This Psalm was written when David was fleeing from King Saul, who, in his jealousy, was now seeking to kill him. However, David isn’t crushed or reduced to a broken mess through anxiety and rejection. His relationship with God upheld him.


David has now become the outsider

“I am in the midst of lions…ravenous beasts— men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords...They dug a pit in my path…” (Ps.57)

David, who had been favoured by the king and whose life has been going so well, has a complete change in fortunes - he is now hated and hounded.

Let’s just let that sink in; the authority of the nation was after him. How would you feel if the government, your boss, or a bully was out to get you?


However, David knew he was an insider with God (that God was with Him)

How did David respond? He wrote,

“Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings…My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.” (Ps. 57)

David responds to rejection and attack with trust and worship. He actively took refuge in God. He sang of God’s faithfulness. He spoke to his own soul to ‘awake’ - to trust and praise, even in the storm.

Sometimes we have to wait for ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’, but victory will come in some form. We, like David, will be able to experience his presence and victory. David sang,

“God sends forth his love and his faithfulness…They dug a pit in my path— but they have fallen into it themselves.” (Ps. 57)


RESPONSE

Do you know that you are an ‘insider’ with God? Are you convinced that , no matter what, He is with you? Like David, overlooked by his father at the visit of Samuel, hounded by Saul, are you aware of being in God’s will and presence, even if people have overlooked or rejected you? David sets us a great example, but he points us to the greatest example - Jesus. He was left outside by his people; finally, he was put outside by his people - rejected and crucified. On the cross, he was put outside by the Father, as He was punished for our sin. Jesus was the ultimate outsider - rejected by all for our salvation, but, he was also the ultimate insider - he remained faithful, trusting His Father through all things. Maybe you are feeling or being excluded at the moment. Take heart, The Father is with you. Take some time to consider Jesus,

‘Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’ (Heb.12:3).

WEDNESDAY - SPIRIT OF SONSHIP

‘So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.’ (1 Samuel 16:13)

Oil being poured out was symbolic of the Holy Spirit’s power. A king needed God’s presence if he was to rule effectively. From this point on, David was aware of the Spirit’s power in some way.

Likewise, if you and I are going to live for God, and experience His loving presence - know that you are invited inside – you need the empowering of the Holy Spirit. The Fathers gives His children His Spirit so as to know you are ‘inside the love of God’.

Galatians 4:6-7 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘ Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

RESPONSE

Do you know that you are, and will always be, a child of God? Do you understand that such faith is a gift of the Spirit? Are you experiencing the love of God poured out in your heart by the Spirit? Take a moment to read the following text and do what it says,

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13)

THURSDAY – A COMPANY OF OUTSIDERS

Feeling, or being, the outsider is not the reserve of any particular group. Every person has to fight this ‘Goliath’ or hide from him in the wilderness of rejection, revenge and surliness like Saul. This world is full of people who ‘bite and devour one another’ because, at heart, they feel like, or are even treated like, the outsider - overlooked or despised. Paul challenges a vengeful approach when he says,

‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good’ (Romans 12:21).

Wow, that’s a different message, isn’t it! Knowing Jesus enables us to love people who have rejected us. Today and tomorrow we will look at a few examples of those who have taken such a Jesus-like approach to rejection.


Joseph

Joseph was hated by his brothers to such an extent that they sold him into slavery and told his father that he had been killed. On top of this, he is thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Added to this, he is left in prison by those who could have helped him. Surely, Joseph would have been tempted to feel rejected by God! However, somehow, through all of these ‘outsider’ days, he knew that he was inside the love of God. He was able to forgive and say to his brothers,

‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’ (Gen. 50:20)

Moses

Moses, as a Jewish baby, faced extermination. Therefore, his mother sent him away from his home to Egypt. Later, He is rejected by the people when he tries to help them. Through his life of leadership, he is constantly attacked and let down by those whom he is trying to lead. Moses does get exasperated to the point of anger, however, when the people disobey again - refusing to enter the Promised Land and threaten to stone Moses because he seeks to encourage them – God offers Moses the opportunity to destroy the nation and start again with Moses, He prays for God to show mercy.

“In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.” (Exodus 14:19)

How can Moses keep encouraging, keep leading, keep forgiving? He can do so because He knows God is with Him. In Hebrews 11 we are told that Moses

‘Persevered because he saw him who is invisible.’(Heb. 11: 27).


Mary

In a culture that treated sex outside of marriage as sinful, and adultery as worthy of death, for Mary, an engaged virgin, to to be told that she was pregnant with the Son of God would have been extremely terrifying. However, both she and Joseph are able to persevere with joy because they know they are inside the love and will of God.

“Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour (grace) with God.” (Luke 1:30)
“And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name. (Luke 1:46-49)


RESPONSE

Do you see that (probably) everyone feels rejected on occasion; and heroes of faith are such because they trust God to be present in their trials.

On one occasion, Hagar, mother of Ishmael, had been rejected and was wandering, outside, in the desert. Now, we may not see and hear and angel like she did, but we must all learn to say,

‘She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” (Gen. 16:13)

FRIDAY – MORE OUTSIDERS

This week we have used David’s experience of being left outside by his family, as a springboard for meditations around this theme of overcoming ‘outsider’ feelings and experiences through knowing one is an ’insider’ - God being with us and loving us at all times. Yesterday we saw how Joseph, Moses and Mary had this experience. Today I want to consider two more examples.


The sinful woman

In Luke 7, we have the account of a sinful woman pouring perfume on Jesus’ feet as an act of worship,

‘When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.  A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”…

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:36-39, 47)

This woman was rejected by respectable society. She, clearly, lives a ‘colourful’ life; she is described as ‘A woman in that town who lived a sinful life’. She has many reasons not to enter this room. However, she knows that she is ‘inside’ the love and forgiveness of Jesus. She is able to overcome self-loathing (if she felt this) and the rejection of many at this meal. How is she able to overcome? Those who know that they are ‘insiders’ with God can overcome ‘outsider’ treatment and emotions.


Paul

Paul, was, in many ways, like the judgemental people in the incident we’ve just looked at. As a ‘Hebrew of the Hebrews’ (See Philippians 3:5-6) he thought that he was an ‘insider’ with God; however, by God’s intervention, he came to realise that he was a sinner and that Jesus is the only Saviour - his religious zeal could never be enough! However, having become a Christian, he still had to contend with rejection. He, no doubt, had to fight against feeling guilt for having instigated the persecution of Christians; he had to patiently overcome the mistrust of Christians who refused to believe that he had truly become a believer.

‘When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.  But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.’ (Acts 9:26-27)

Paul was not crushed by this painful rejection because he knew Jesus great love for him.


RESPONSE

You and I, like the ‘sinful woman’ and Paul, will only cope with the abrasion of tested relationships is we are inside the love of God. Secondly, perhaps we could all seek to be a bit more like Barnabas, and , ultimately, like Jesus: how could you help those who are on the fringes to know that they are loved by God?

Let’s end this week’s series of devotions by looking at our text about David being brought inside in a different way.

‘Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” (1 Samuel 16:10-11)

David had the experience and honour of being called inside. It’s like the ending of a film when the underdog gets the girl, guy, the job, the prize… However, many of us have never been ‘picked’ for something. We have never had a ‘What, me?’ moment! We are more like David’s older brothers of whom it is said, “The Lord has not chosen these.” The reality is, if we are not prepared to rejoice and help others who are chosen for great things, rejoice when others are recognised, stay joyful in the love of God when we are not chosen, we will become like Saul - bitter and vengeful.

You may not be the prodigal coming home, enjoying people celebrate over you, but the Father says to you, as he said to the older brother,

“You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” (Luke 15:31)

2. COMMUNITY GROUP/FAMILY DEVOTIONAL – YOU ARE INVITED INSIDE.


Please read 1 Samuel 16:1-13


We all experience feelings of being excluded (or not being included). Some of us struggle more than others and some experience actual rejection more than others, but we all share this battle and must learn to handle it in a godly way.

  • Is there anything from this week's devotions that you would like to share with the group?

Our separation from God and one another stems from ‘The Fall’ of mankind. The serpent made Adam and Eve feel that they were 'outsiders' in regard to true knowledge (Genesis 3:1-5). Man chose to rebel against God, which brought sin and its effects into the world. In Genesis, Sin is summarised as ‘death’ (Genesis 2:17). This death has many effects: Judgement and separation from God, broken human relationships, the ruin of the natural world.

  • David being excluded, but being chosen and brought inside is a great illustration of our salvation. How are we 'brought inside' - how is our broken relationship with God restored?

  • What does Ephesians 2:12-13 say about our journey, and how it was made possible, for us to become insiders?

  • Even as Christians, we bring our struggle with exclusion into the church. But we have been included in the most meaningful way possible (through Christ). All of our other experiences and relationships must be shaped by this truth. Discuss.

  • We all need healing in this regard to some extent. Last week we looked at how our hearts are renovated - our hearts are transformed through what we invest in; how will investing time in considering the gospel start to bring healing to us and our relationships. How might we know that we are receiving this healing?

  • What does Galatians 4:6-7 teach us about the place of the Spirit in regard to our enjoying our standing with God, and what could one do in response?

Pray for...

Please do make some time to pray for our Christmas services and those you are planning to invite.



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