The Sand Line

IT WAS A COOL CLEAR MORNING.

THE BEGINNING OF A DAY OF HIGH ADVENTURE AND REAL DANGER.

YOU SEE, WAR CLOUDS WERE IN THE AIR.

BATTLE LINES WERE FORMING.

IT WAS A DAY WHEN A MAN COULD EITHER DIE IN ACTION OR SURVIVE AND LIVE THE REST OF HIS LIFE AS A HERO.

BUT NOT FOR DAVID. HE AWOKE TO THE SAME OLD, BORING THING -- SHEEP. BOY HIS LIFE WAS DULL. THE SAME THING EVERY DAY.

LEAD THE SHEEP TO GRASS,

AND THEN WATER,

AND THEN TO GRASS,

AND THEN TO THE PEN.

AND THEN GET UP AND DO THE SAME THING THE NEXT DAY.

AND THE SHEEP HE HAD WERE NOT JUST SLOW, THEY WERE DUMB. REAL DUMB.

THERE HAD BEEN TIMES OF EXCITEMENT IN THE PAST. HE REMEMBERED THE DAY THAT THE LION ATTACKED THE SHEEP AND THE TIME THE BEAR CAME AT THE FLOCK. NOW THAT WAS EXCITEMENT.

BUT TODAY, THE ONLY MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY FACING ANY EXCITEMENT WERE HIS THREE OLDEST BROTHERS. THEY WERE IN THE ARMY AND THEY WERE IN BATTLE WITH THE PHILISTINES. HOW NICE, HE THOUGHT, IT WOULD BE TO TRADE PLACES WITH THEM. OR EVEN TO FIND OUT WHAT WAS HAPPENING AT THE BATTLEFRONT.

AND THAT WAS ANOTHER PROBLEM WITH HIS LIFE RIGHT NOW. BEING BORED WAS BAD ENOUGH. BUT KNOWING THAT HIS BROTHERS MIGHT BE IN DANGER AND NOT BEING ABLE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT WAS WORSE. IT HAD BEEN ABOUT 40 DAYS THAT HIS BROTHERS HAD BEEN GONE NOW AND HE DID NOT KNOW HOW THEY WERE OR HOW THE WAR WAS GOING.

FORTUNATELY FOR DAVID, HE WASN'T THE ONLY ONE WHO WAS WONDERING. HIS DAD DECIDED HE WANTED TO KNOW HOW HIS THREE OLDEST BOYS WERE DOING. SO DAVID GOT HIS BIG BREAK FROM BOREDOM. LETS TURN TO 1 SAM 17:20-24.

GOLIATH NOT YOUR USUAL SOLDIER. NOT EVEN YOUR USUAL BIG SOLDIER. CHPT 17 TELLS US THAT HE WAS 6 1/2 CUBITS TALL, WHICH TRANSLATED INTO AMERICAN MEANS 11 FEET TALL. THERE IS SOME DEBATE ABOUT HOW THIS TRANSLATES INTO OUR MEASURE OF DISTANCE, BUT THE HEIGHT IS OVER 9 FEET AND LESS THAN 12 FEET. WHATEVER, HE WAS BIG!

HE WAS NO BEANPOLE. WE ARE TOLD THAT THE ARMOR THAT HE WORE ON HIS CHEST AND STOMACH WEIGHTED 110 POUNDS. I ASSUME THAT IF IT SLOWED HIM DOWN, HE WOULDN'T WEAR IT.

I SUPPOSE THAT MOST OF YOU HAVE SEEN THE OLYMPIC SHOTPUT. DESCRIBE. WELL, THE HEAD OF THE SPEAR THAT HE CARRIED WEIGHED ONLY ABOUT 3 POUNDS LESS THAN THE SHOT PUT BALL (18 POUNDS).

IF I WERE DAVID, I THINK I WOULD SAY, "I'VE SEEN ENOUGH, I THINK I HEAR THE SHEEP CALLING." BUT DAVID WAS NOT AFRAID. READ 1 SAM 17:26b

DAVID WAS ANGRY FOR THE HONOR OF GOD. AS A RESULT HE STEPPED FORWARD TO FIGHT. HIS ATTITUDE IS RECORDED IN 17:45-46.

WHAT A GREAT STORY. I LOVE TO REFER TO PART OR ALL OF THIS STORY IN MY SERMONS. A MAN IS ANGRY OVER THE HONOR OF GOD. HE IS WILLING TO PUT HIS LIFE ON THE LINE AGAINST WHAT APPEAR TO BE UNBELIEVABLE ODDS.

CARMEN SINGS ABOUT THIS KIND OF ATTITUDE IN HIS SONG ABOUT DRAWING A LINE IN THE SAND. MAYBE YOU HAVE HEARD IT. FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR AUDIO HEALTH I WON'T SING IT. THE LYRICS GO:

"I'VE MADE MY DECISION, I'LL TAKE MY STAND. I'VE DRAWN A LINE IN THE SAND AND I WON'T BE AFRAID. WITH THE CROSS BEFORE ME AND THE WORLD BEHIND, BY THE GRACE OF GOD I WILL SERVE THE LORD."

GREAT SONG. GREAT IDEAL. DRAWING A LINE IN THE SAND. 1 SAM 17:48 SAYS THAT "THE PHILISTINE MOVED CLOSER ...[AND] DAVID RAN QUICKLY TOWARDS THE BATTLE LINE TO MEET HIM." THERE WAS A REAL LIVE LINE, A BATTLE LINE. YOU COULD REALLY DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND.

I ONLY HOPE ALL MY SIN PROBLEMS COME TO ME JUST LIKE THAT.

UNFORTUNATELY, FOR DAVID AND FOR US THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS SO CLEAR AND DISTINCT. SIN IS NOT ALWAYS THIS 11 FOOT BIG HAIRY GIANT WHO TELLS YOU IT WANTS TO RIP YOUR HEAD OFF. SOMETIMES SIN IS A LOT MORE SUBTLE AND A LOT MORE ATTRACTIVE.

SOMETIMES YOU WANT TO DRAW A LINE, BUT IT IS NOT SO CLEAR. SOMETIMES IT IS HARD TO TELL WERE OR WHEN TO DRAW THE LINE.

AND THAT IS WHAT I WANT TO DISCUSS WITH YOU THIS MORNING -- I WANT TO DISCUSS DAVID AND DRAWING LINES IN YOUR LIFE. NOT NECESSARILY FOR SALVATION, BUT MAYBE. BUT FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR WELL-BEING, YOUR LIFE HERE.

TURN WITH ME TO 2SAM 11 AND LETS READ v. 1-4a.

LOOKING AT THESE TWO EVENTS IN DAVID'S LIFE AND COMPARING THEM RAISES PLENTY OF QUESTIONS ABOUT DRAWING LINES.

I DON'T WANT YOU --THE MEN IN PARTICULAR--TO THINK ABOUT THIS TOO LONG, BUT WE KNOW THAT BATHSHEBA WAS NOT IN THE LEAST LIKE GOLIATH. AND THE DAVID OF 1 SAM 17 --WHICH I AM GOING TO CALL YOUNG DAVID --WAS NOT THE SAME AS THE DAVID OF 2 SAM 11 --WHICH I'M GOING TO CALL MIDDLE AGED DAVID. MY WIFE TELLS ME I'M NOT THE SAME AS WHEN I WAS 20. I TELL HER MY SIZE IS THE SAME--FOR MY SHOES!

MIDDLE AGED DAVID OBVIOUSLY FAILED TO DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND THIS TIME. IN FACT, MY GUESS IS THAT HE DID NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT DRAWING A LINE. INSTEAD OF DRAWING LINES, HE WAS PROBABLY USING LINES TO ROPE HER OVER TO HIS PALACE!

IF YOU THINK THAT YOU KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT DRAWING LINES, WHERE SHOULD HE HAVE DRAWN A LINE? WHERE WOULD YOU DRAW A LINE?

LETS LOOK AT THESE FEW VERSES AGAIN.

VERSE 1 SAYS THAT THERE IS A TIME WHEN KINGS GO OUT TO WAR. WORK TIME.

1. DID HE CROSS A LINE WHEN HE STAYED HOME INSTEAD OF DOING HIS JOB OF LEADING THE TROOPS?

IF YOU SAY NO;

VERSE 2 SAYS THAT HE WAS WANDERING AROUND ON HIS ROOF. APPARENTLY HE LOOKED LONG ENOUGH TO TELL SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL.

2. DID HE CROSS THE LINE WHEN HE LOOKED LONG ENOUGH TO TELL SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL?

IF YOU SAY NO;

VERSE 3 TELLS HE DID NOT JUST LET IT ALONE. HE ASKED SOMEONE TO FIND OUT ABOUT HER.

3. DID HE CROSS THE LINE WHEN HE SENT SOMEONE TO FIND OUT WHO SHE WAS? (v.3)

IF YOU SAY NO;

VERSE 3 TELLS US THAT DAVID GOT AN ANSWER AND THE ANSWER WAS THAT SHE WAS MARRIED.

4. DID DAVID CROSS THE LINE WHEN HE SENT FOR HER EVEN KNO WING THAT SHE WAS MARR IED (v.3)

YOU COULD SAY THAT NONE OF THIS WAS SIN. HE CERTAINLY HAD NOT COMMITTED THE SINFUL ACT IN ANY OF THIS. BUT FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE THINKING UP LINES FOR DAVID, I DOUBT THAT ANY OF YOU THINK DAVID'S ACTIONS WERE OK UP TO THE TIME THAT HE COMMITTED THE ACT.

PERHAPS SOME OF YOU WHO HAVE BEEN ANSWERING "NO," THINK THAT HE SHOULD HAVE DRAWN THE LINE LONG BEFORE CHPT. 11.

5. THAT DAVID CROSSED THE LINE BEFORE CHPT 11 WITH HIS PRACTICE OF TAKING SEVERAL WIVES.

OR

HE CROSSED THE LINE WHEN HE BUILT A WONDERFUL COMF ORTA BLE PALA CE THAT MADE HIM TOO COMF ORTA BLE TO WANT TO GO TO WAR WITH HIS MEN.

--------------

MY FRIENDS, THIS IS WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD IN LIFE. I SUGGEST TO YOU IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE HE SHOULD HAVE DRAWN THE LINE, YOU ARE GOING TO BE FUZZY IN YOUR OWN LIFE ABOUT WHERE YOU SHOULD DRAW THE LINE.

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN KIDS COLOR? I REMEMBER WHEN MY KIDS WERE YOUNG AND THEY WOULD COME UP WITH SOMETHING THEY ANNOUNCED LOOKED LIKE ME. YOU PARENTS KNOW HOW GREAT THAT IS FOR THE EGO. GENERALLY, IT WOULD HAVE SOME SORT OF BLACK OR BROWN THING THAT I THINK WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A BEARD THAT STUCK WAY OUT FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY FACE. IT MADE ME WONDER HOW MY KIDS VIEWED ME.

WHEN A LITTLE KID IS COLORING HE THINKS THAT THE IDEA IS PUT THE COLOR OVER THE DRAWING. IT IS ONLY WHEN KIDS GET OLDER THAT THEY FIND OUT THAT THE OBJECT IS TO KEEP THE COLOR WITHIN THE LINES.

PAUL TEACHES US ABOUT CHRISTIAN MATURITY AND HOW WE SHOULD DRAW THE LINES IN OUR LIFE IN COLOSSIANS 3. TURN WITH ME THERE.

WE RECENTLY STUDIED COLOSSIANS IN THE SABBATH SCHOOL CLASS. IN CHPT 3 PAUL GIVES US RULES FOR HOLY LIVING. HE TELLS US ABOUT LINE DRAWING.

LETS READ COL 3:1-2. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? HAVE YOU HEARD THE EXPRESSION "HE WAS SO HEAVENLY MINDED HE WAS OF NO EARTHLY GOOD?" APPARENTLY NOT A BIBLE QUOTE. PAUL TELLS US TO BE HEAVENLY MINDED.

IN MATT 6:32 JESUS SAYS, "SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND ITS RIGHTEOUSNESS AND ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE ADDED TO YOU." (BC VERSION.)

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? DOES IT MEAN THAT WE CANNOT THINK OF EARTHLY THINGS?

I THINK IT MEANS TWO THINGS. THE FIRST IS DRAWING THE LINE ON PRIORITIES, ON OUR FOCUS.

I REMEMBER ONCE WHEN I WAS WORKING ON CONSTRUCTION AND WE WERE BUILDING A MULTISTORY BUILDING. WE WERE WALKING ALONG THE FLOOR CARRYING THIS BEAM. THERE WERE AT LEAST TWO GUYS AHEAD OF ME CARRYING THIS SAME BEAM. I WAS NOT STARING AT THE GUY AHEAD OF ME, BUT HE WAS IN FRONT OF ME, SO I WAS WATCHING HIM PRETTY CLOSELY. ALL OF A SUDDEN THE GUY IN FRONT OF ME, THE MIDDLE GUY, DISAPPEARED. I MEAN HE JUST DISAPPEARED. THIS SURE CAUGHT MY ATTENTION. THE BEAM GOT HEAVIER AND THE GUY WAS GONE. ALL OF A SUDDEN I SAW WERE HE WENT. THERE WAS A HOLE IN THE FLOOR THAT THE FIRST GUY HAD SOMEHOW MISSED. THE SECOND GUY JUST FELL THROUGH IT.

I GUESS WHEN YOU ARE CARRYING BEAMS YOU SHOULD BE PAYING ATTENTION TO WHERE YOU ARE WALKING.

SO LET ME ASK YOU, WHAT WERE YOU CONCENTRATING ON THIS PAST WEEK? WHAT DOMINATED YOUR THOUGHTS?

AND THEN ASK YOURSELF, WHY DID THOSE THINGS OCCUPY YOUR THOU GHTS?

DID YOUR WORK TAKE FIRST PLACE IN YOUR THOUGHTS?

DID THE SOAPS TAKE FIRST PLACE IN YOUR THOUGHTS?

DID GETTING RICH HAVE FIRST PLACE IN YOUR THOUGHTS?

DID IMPROVING YOUR STATUS HAVE FIRST PLACE?

DID IMPROVING OR YOUR AUTHORITY OR YOUR STATION IN LIFE HAVE FIRST PLACE?

IN CONTRAST, HOW MUCH TIME DURING THIS PAST WEEK DID YOU SPEND THINKING ABOUT HOW TO MOVE THIS CHURCH FORWARD?

HOW MUCH TIME DID YOU SPEND THINKING ABOUT HOW YOU CAN WITNESS TO OTHERS?

HOW MUCH TIME THINKING OF NEW PROGRAMS FOR THE CHURCH?

HOW MUCH TIME DID YOU SPEND THINKING ABOUT HOW YOU COULD IMPROVE YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE?

YOUR PRAYER LIFE?

YOUR WALK WITH GOD?

I AM NOT SAYING THAT YOU CANNOT THINK A GREAT DEAL ABOUT YOUR WORK. I CERTAINLY DO A LOT OF THAT.

BUT LOOKING AT THE TWO DAVIDS PUT THE PROPER PERSPECTIVE ON THIS.

LETS SEE WHAT THINKING ABOUT IMPROVING OUR WEALTH OR OUR STATUS OR PRESERVING OUR REPUTATION OR GLORY GET US.

YOUNG DAVID WHO FOUGHT GOLIATH WAS THINKING ABOUT THE HONOR OF GOD. HE SAID IN 1 SAM 17:36 AND 45 THAT GOLIATH HAD DEFIED GOD. IN FACT, HE SAID THAT IF HE BEAT GOLIATH, IT WAS BECAUSE OF THE LORD -- NOT BECAUSE OF HIM.

BUT MIDDLE AGED DAVID WAS THINKING ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE.

WHEN BATHSHEBA BECAME PREGNANT, DAVID PUT HIS MIND TO SAVING HIS REPUTATION. HE ENGAGED IN A MASSIVE COVER-UP THAT ENDED IN THE DEATH OF URIAH, THE HUSBAND. IF DAVID HAD BEEN THINKING ABOUT GOD'S PROGRAM, HE MIGHT HAVE DECIDED THAT CONFESSION WAS THE BEST THING. BUT INSTEAD HE WAS THINKING ABOUT HIS OWN REPUTATION AND HOW EMBARRASSED HE WOULD BE IF THIS CAME OUT. SO AN INNOCENT MAN DIED.

HOW ABOUT WEALTH AND COMFORT? YOUNG DAVID DID NOT SEEM TO HAVE ANY. 1 SAM 17:15 TELLS US THAT HE TENDED HIS FATHER'S SHEEP WHEN HE WASN'T PLAYING HIS HARP FOR KING SAUL. I IMAGINE THAT TENDING SHEEP INVOLVED SLEEPING WITH THE SHEEP. AND I DOUBT THAT HE ROUNDED THEM UP BY THE NEAREST HOLIDAY INN AT NIGHT. IN FACT, HIS BROTHER ( 1 SAM 17:28) SUGGESTS THAT DAVID'S SHEEP WERE NORMALLY IN THE DESERT. SO I GUESS HE IS SLEEPING IN THE DESERT.

MIDDLE AGED DAVID IS JUST THE OPPOSITE. HE HAD BUILT A BEAUTIFUL PALACE. ISRAEL WAS GOD'S NATION, AND WHEN DAVID DECIDED TO STAY HOME IN HIS COMFORTABLE PALACE INSTEAD OF GOING OUT TO WAR TO DEFEND OR EXPAND THE BOARDERS HE WAS THINKING ABOUT HIMSELF AND NOT ON GOD'S WORK.

HOW ABOUT AUTHORITY? WHEN YOUNG DAVID HAD TO FACE A PROBLEM HE HAD TO DO IT HIMSELF. IN 1 SAM 17:34 DAVID EXPLAINS TO SAUL THAT WHENEVER A LION OR BEAR CARRIED OFF A SHEEP, DAVID WENT AFTER THE LION OR BEAR HIMSELF! NO DOUBT HE WAS LIVING ON THE EDGE. BUT DOING THIS CAUSED HIM TO GIVE THE CREDIT TO GOD. IN 1 SAM 17: 37 HE SAYS, "THE LORD WHO DELIVERED ME FROM THE PAW OF THE LION AND THE PAW OF THE BEAR WILL DELIVER ME FROM THE HAND OF THIS PHILISTINE."

MIDDLE AGED DAVID IS JUST THE OPPOSITE. DAVID DIDN'T HAVE TO DO IT HIMSELF ANY MORE. 2 SAM 11:1 TELLS US THAT HE SENT OUT JOAB WITH THE KING'S MEN AND THE WHOLE ISRAELITE ARMY. NOT ONLY DID DAVID NOT HAVE TO FIGHT ANYMORE, HE DID NOT EVEN HAVE TO LEAD THE FIGHTERS.

DO YOU SEE THE COMMON THREAD IN ALL OF THIS? IF YOUR DAILY THOUGHTS CENTER ON HOW TO

IMPROVE YOUR REPUTATION,

IMPROVE YOUR COMFORT LEVEL,

IMPROVE YOUR LIVING STANDARDS,

IMPROVE YOUR STATUS OR AUTHORITY IN LIFE,

FORGET IT. HAVING THESE THINGS DID NOT HELP DAVID'S SPIRITUAL LIFE AND THEY ARE NOT GOING TO HELP YOURS.

DO YOU SEE NOW WHY JESUS SAYS TO SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD? WHY PAUL TELLS US TO SET OUR MINDS ON HEAVENLY THINGS?

THE SECOND REASON FOR CONCENTRATING ON HEAVENLY THINGS HAS A MUCH DARKER SIDE TO IT.

PAUL CONTINUES IN COLOSSIANS 3 ABOUT OUR MENTAL FOCUS, ABOUT THIS MENTAL LINE DRAWING: READ COL 3:5.

AND THE INTERESTING THING IS THAT HIS POINT SEEMS TO BE ON DAVID'S PROBLEM: SEXUAL SIN. WHEN WE STUDIED THIS TEXT IN CLASS, MORE THAN ONE COMMENTATOR SAID THAT PAUL'S LIST IS IN REVERSE ORDER. HE STARTED AT THE END.

THE END FOR MIDDLE AGE DAVID WAS, AS COL 3:5 SAYS, "SEXUAL IMMORALITY." PAUL TELLS US IN HIS LIST THAT SIN STARTS A LONG WAY BEFORE THIS ACT. LET ME READ THIS IN REVERSE. THE ORDER THAT REAL LIFE TAKES.

THE FIRST STEP IS "GREED." WHICH, IF YOU NEED A COMMANDMENT, PAUL SAYS FITS UNDER THE SECOND COMMANDMENT: IDOLATRY.

HOW MANY OF OUR THOUGHTS FIT WITHIN THE TERM "GREED?" OR TO PUT IT ANOTHER WAY, DISCONTENT WITH OUR CURRENT LOT IN LIFE?

PUTTING YOUR FOCUS ON EARTHLY THINGS, SINFUL MATTERS LIKE GREED, HAVE A POSITIVELY EVIL RESULT. THEY LEAD YOU, AS HERE, INTO SIN AND DEATH.

AND THAT BRINGS US BACK AGAIN TO DRAWING THE LINE. IN MY OPINION WE VERY RARELY GET TO DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND LIKE DAVID DID WITH GOLIATH.

INSTEAD, THE MOST IMPORTANT LINE DRAWING GETS DONE IN OUR HEAD --IN OUR BRAIN.

AND WHERE YOU DRAW THE LINE IS CRITICAL TO YOUR LIFE.

SETTING YOUR THOUGHTS ON HEAVENLY THINGS (3:1) IS THE SAME AS DRAWING THE LINE ON GREED/IDOLATRY (3:5) SETTING YOUR THOUGHTS ON HEAVENLY THINGS, MEANS THAT YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH YOUR SITUATION, BECAUSE YOU DEPEND ON GOD, AND WHEREVER GOD HAS YOU IS OK WITH YOU!

YOU ARE NOT SAYING, BOY I HAVE TO HAVE THAT GUY'S JOB

OR THAT GUY'S HOUSE

OR THAT GUY'S CAR

OR THAT GUY'S WIFE

OR THAT GUY'S REPUTATION

OR THAT GUY'S STATUS IN THE COMMUNITY.

(REVERSE ,"OR THAT GAL'S....")

MY MENTAL ATTITUDE, MY LINE IN THE SAND IS THAT GOD IS IN CHARGE AND THAT IS OK WITH ME. I NEED NOTHING MORE THAN HE GIVES ME.

DRAW THE LINE ON GREED AND DISSATISFACTION.

BEFORE WE END LET ME TELL YOU A LITTLE SECRET ABOUT YOUNG DAVID.

DID HE REALLY HAVE A LINE IN THE SAND? YES. BUT DID HIS VICTORY DEPEND ON THAT LINE? NO.

HE HAD DRAWN A LINE IN HIS MIND LONG BEFORE HE STEPPED FORWARD, AND IT WAS A LINE IN WHICH HE DEPENDED SOLELY UPON GOD.

HAVING THIS MENTAL LINE OF TRUSTING GOD DRAWN IN HIS MIND ALLOWED HIM TO DRAW A REAL LINE IN THE STAND AGAINST BIG HAIRY MONSTERS.

AND THAT CAN HAPPEN FOR YOU TOO IF YOU SET YOUR MIND TO TRUST GOD AND DEPEND UPON HIM.

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