David’s Generous Heart – Part 1

20 And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David’s spoil.

21 And David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them.

22 Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart.

23 Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand.

24 For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.

25 And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day.

26 And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD;

27 To them which were in Bethel, and to them which were in south Ramoth, and to them which were in Jattir,

28 And to them which were in Aroer, and to them which were in Siphmoth, and to them which were in Eshtemoa,

29 And to them which were in Rachal, and to them which were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to them which were in the cities of the Kenites,

30 And to them which were in Hormah, and to them which were in Chorashan, and to them which were in Athach,

31 And to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt. 1 Sam. 30:20-31

I am aware that somewhere in this blog I have written a post on this very scripture, but the subject matter is so beautiful I just have to write on it again. No matter I might end up repeating my earlier post word for word, but still I will write on it again. This portion of scripture is epicly delightful. It sings like an ode – an ode of God’s love for His people. It is not for nothing that David is one of the most 1) loved, 2) admired, and 3)written-about characters in the Bible. And it is not for nothing that God called David:

“… a man after mine own heart (Acts 13:22).

Notice in our key scripture above that it says of the spoil that David and his men seized from the Amalekites, that it was

“…David’s spoil.”

It was his and he was free to do with it as he pleased. But what David did with his spoil draws us to simply love this man of the Spirit.

In the first place, this pursuit against the Amalekite invaders had been incredibly exerting, to the extent that two hundred of David’s men – tested men of war – had fainted and had been forced to remain behind, by a certain brook called Besor. David and four hundred of his men had forged on ahead. They finally caught up with the Amalekites and, for two whole days, they routed them and killed off every one of them.

The Bible proceeds to tell us what followed next.

“20 And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David’s spoil. 21 And David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them.” (v. 20-21)

The men whom David had left behind went to welcome back their leader, their comrades-in-arms, and to hug their wives and children. They were excited and happy.

And David came up to them and saluted them. David saluted the men who had been left behind! And ‘saluting’ here probably means that he came up to them and hugged them. And he said to them, “Gentlemen, how have you fared? I hope you had a wonderful rest.”

I love this. I love it with all my heart. David did not come up to these men with a twisted heart. He came up to them with the love of God in his heart.

But David’s actions did not go down well with some of the men who had gone on with David to the battle. David being pleasant to these men who had not participated in battle was not rubbing off some of his men. But the reason for their antagonism was because they feared what would follow with David being so nice to the stragglers. It was a certain fear running deep down within them that drove these men to do what they did next.

These men got together and came up with a plan. They declared that those who had not gone to battle would be sent away with only their wives and children, but otherwise empty-handed. They would not be allowed to share in the spoils that had been brought back.

But these men were selfish and did not have the love of God in their hearts. It was the fear of losing that was eating at them. And the Bible calls them

“wicked men and men of Belial” (v.22)

They were children of the devil. When we fear to lose we become children of the devil.

I cannot imagine at this stage the condition of the hearts of the men who were so addressed. Their hearts must have fainted within them. They had tried their best, and their best had taken them only up to the brook Besor. And, apparently, their best was not good enough for some of their fellows.

But notice David’s heart.

“23 Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand. 24 For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.” (v. 23-24)

And the conclusion:

“And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day.” (v. 25)

The heart of God was in David. He not only attributed he and his troop’s victory to God, but he also had compassion upon the weak. And upon realizing that there were “men of Belial” within the ranks of Israel, David immediately instituted an ordinance that would forever rule over Israel:

“… as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.”

That is God’s heart for His children. As children of God, it also ought to be our heart towards one another.

The Gospel – A Responsibility (Part 1)

And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD. 1 Chr. 15:15
Early on, notice the word “shoulders” in this scripture. Shoulders speak of responsibility. Mark that.
But first, let us set a background for what we want to learn from this scripture.
In 2 Samuel 6:1-7 we read:
“1 Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2 And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims. 3 And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. 4 And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. 5 And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. 6 And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. 7 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.”
This account is repeated in 1 Chronicles chapter 13.
Had David made a new cart for himself to ride upon, God would have had absolutely no problem with that. But David made the cardinal error of trying to set the ark of God’s covenant with Israel on the new cart he had made. But God is not served by human hands, and this act was extremely displeasing to Him. His anger boiled over when Uzzah stretched out his hand to touch the ark as it threatened to topple over in its doomed crossing. God killed Uzzah right there and then.
The ark never arrived at its destination, the holy city of Jerusalem. The mission to bring back the ark to Jerusalem came to a disgraceful and tragic end midway in its execution, and David had to leave the ark – and all the blessings that went with it – at Obededom’s house.
In 1 Chronicles chapter 15, we see David bringing the ark to Jerusalem the right way, the way God wanted it done: carried on the shoulders of the priests and Levites.
Notice that in both expeditions to bring back the ark, it is stated that there was singing and dancing. In the first attempt, the Bible even says that “David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.”
But God had never intended for “all the house of Israel” to play these instruments. He had chosen specific men to play these instruments. God had given very specific instructions to Moses about who was to do what in Israel’s service to God. David over-rode that directive and he allowed “all the house of Israel” to play every kind of instrument before the Lord.
Moreover, as we have already seen, God had chosen men, not new carts, to bear the ark of the covenant upon their shoulders. God had told Moses that the ark of the covenant was to be carried by men, the priests and Levites. But David chose to ignore that directive and he built a new cart for the Lord’s ark.
David’s actions cost a man his life.

[Below: God is above all!]

Suffering For Our Faith

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Mat. 16:13-25

In 1 Samuel chapter 22 verses 1 to 2 we read the following account of David:

1 David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him. 2 And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

Four hundred men… what a small number! But the Kingdom of God is built upon weakness, not strength; in inadequacy, not competence; in insufficiency, not abundance. Four hundred men is a perfectly sufficient enough number for God to bring about a world-shaking phenomenon, for that was what the kingdom of Israel would soon become under King David.

As we noted in an earlier post, we must move on – move on to maturity. Leaving the basic doctrine of our Christian faith, we of necessity must grow, or move on, to perfection. But, in order to find ourselves on this road, we need spiritual perception.

The account about David is therefore an analogy: an analogy of Christ, the cross and us. Throughout scripture, the Bible talks of only one Christ – the Christ who was crucified. The cross signifies Godly suffering. Hence, in one scripture we see David suffering; and, in another, we see Christ suffering.

Interesting, isn’t it… that David escaped King Saul by hiding in a cave. The Bible, talking of the righteous men of old, says in Hebrews 11:38:

“… (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

The saints of old suffered for their faith. Many of us know David for his role as king of Israel. Yet, the Bible counts David among the men of old who suffered for their faith.

Equally amazing, however, is the fact that we see people who, in spite of the suffering they witnessed in David, still went out and followed him. But who were these people who went out to David? The Bible does not say that the rich and the well-fed and those contented with life gathered themselves unto David. On the contrary, the people who went out to David were all desperate people. The Bible says they were people “in distress”, “in debt” and “discontented”.

“In distress” here simply means they were poor.

In other words, the people who went out were people who had nothing to lose. They had lost everything already. Today’s world would call them ‘losers’. The men and women who went out to David were losers.

In the same manner, we can only follow Christ when we have lost all and have nothing more to lose. As long as you have so much as a shoelace to your credit, you cannot follow Christ. The Biblical standard for becoming a disciple of Christ is losing all. And when the Bible says all, it means all. The Bible says of Jesus, that He “poured out his soul unto death” (Is. 53:12).

Jesus lost all, including His life. On the cross, He died.

“24 If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

If you have something precious, better lose it now. When you go to the Lord, you go as the song says: “Just as I am, without one plea!”

But why did these people go out to David in the first place? The man was living in a cave; were they mad? Or had they lost hope to the extent that they were willing to suffer for suffering’s sake?

Hardly. On the contrary, these people saw something in the Spirit. The flashback to the reason these people followed after David is found in the key scripture above in Matthew 16. Jesus told Peter that upon the revelation of who He was, He would build the church, against which the gates of hell would not prevail.

In spite of David’s apparent weak circumstances, God brought a revelation into these people’s hearts that David was the anointed one of Israel, that he it was who would deliver them from their oppression. In David’s sufferings, they saw the plan of God for the nation of Israel!

In the cross of Christ – which represents Christ’s sufferings – we see God’s plan for us. In weakness, we see strength. In defeat, we see victory!

Jesus said,

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (v.10)

Those who will receive the things of the Spirit are those who have received a revelation of the crucified Christ in their hearts and who are ready to deny themselves and to share in Christ’s sufferings, with the hope of the Spirit in them. The Bible says:

11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. 12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” (Heb. 13:11-14)

The Bible says: “Let us…” God here is beseeching us. But God’s “Let us…” can sometimes be a command. Just as these people went out to David, we must move out – move out from our comfort zones, and from self-preservation. We cannot be contented with the status quo. We must desire real change in us – the change to live a sacrificial life. Blessed, indeed, is he who hungers and thirsts in their spirit for the things of God. He will learn to deny himself, to take up his cross and follow Christ.

[Below: Tanzanians standing for their national anthem]


Godly Humility is Incredible Humility

27 And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?

28 And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance. Gen. 43:27-28

“Thy servant our father…”

I haven’t heard that lately. In fact, I have not heard that kind of language spoken anywhere, real time.

And I am wondering what, if these men could refer to their father as someone’s servant, what then could they say of themselves? Much lower than a servant, no doubt.

And this was not a scene from some screen shot. This was real. It was real life.

Notice it was not Joseph who referred to Jacob as a “servant”. It was his brothers. They referred to him as Joseph’s “servant”, even though at the time they did not know it was Joseph they were addressing. This was the way Godly men of old spoke of themselves.

Our spiritual fathers were men who were extremely rich in the Spirit. And the reason for this was because they were extremely humble.

Modern man is so ‘emancipated’ he has missed it in the Spirit. But we need to have the spirit of humility that these early men of God had.

We recall also Sarah, Abraham’s wife, whom the Bible informs us called her husband “lord” (1 Pet. 3:6). That’s a big “Wow!” there. That speaks of humility, great humility. In today’s ‘modern’ church, a wife may not necessarily use the word “lord” to address her husband, but thank God the life she is called to live is not about words. However, the word “lord” as used here has a very specific meaning. It means that the wife humbles herself to the extent the husband actually becomes her lord, or master.

A woman of the Spirit has no place in her heart for things like women’s emancipation, because emancipation is of the heart, and Christ has set her free to obey her husband. He has not set her free to seek ‘equal rights’ with her husband. Christ has set her free to obey her husband. Any other ‘freedom’ is not of Christ.

We could talk of many more Biblical figures with regard to incredible humility. Take David, for example. We could talk of David and Saul; of King David and Absalom his son; and of David and a man called Shimei. We do not have the time to talk about these things in detail here, but they show that David was a truly humble man.

As we already stated, with the Godly men and women of old, it came naturally to humble themselves. But what was the reason for this incredible humility?

It was because they knew God. They may not have been perfect, but these men and women knew God to an extent that would make us appear like little children with all the pride and selfishness we exhibit.

The modern believer may boast of many things, many accomplishments in the Spirit. But to have the incredible heart of humility that the men of old had! That’s the true calling of God.

I use the word “incredible” deliberately. Humility is a big challenge to the modern believer. I have seen many men of God, myself included, who draw the line concerning how far they can be challenged, provoked or defied.

But humility is of grace.

My prayer today that God may give me – give us all – a heart which is ready and willing to say with the great men of old, “Your servant…”

[Below: A wedding. In marriage, as with any relationship, humility is of absolute essentiality]


The Lesson of Absalom

25 But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.

26 And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year’s end that he polled it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king’s weight. 2 Sam. 14:25-26

I probably ought to have labeled this post “The Danger of Celebrity Christianity”.

In my country, there is a man, a preacher of the gospel. He is tall, full-bodied and extremely handsome. He cuts his hair in a ‘Table Mountain’ style, which gives him an added macho look. He wears casual clothing. No suits, and no ties.

He has an appealing raspy drawl and, when he is on stage, his body motions and movements command the attention of everyone. The man is irresistible.

Many years ago, this man came to our town to preach in an open-air meeting, and all the women of the town, both saved and unsaved, flocked to see him. As he began preaching, his very posture had the women screaming and ululating wildly. The man loved it and we, too, in our simplicity, did. In our hearts, the man was an idol.

He went on to entertain us immensely. At the end of the 4 or 5-day meeting, the big open-air field could afford standing space only.

Sad to say, many of us came to learn later that this man was also one of the most notorious adulterers in the land. On this particular occasion, when he finally left our town, he left with one of the women he had ‘converted’ during his crusade.

The story of Absalom in the Old Testament is an analogy of our modern-day charismatic preachers. Absalom was a man of incredible handsomeness, and he used his deep charisma and beauty to his advantage in his attempt to dethrone King David, his father. The Bible says he “stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (2 Sam. 15:6).

In the same vein, today’s preachers use their charisma and material or physical attributes to dethrone God the Father from the hearts of men. They do so by drawing to themselves the attention of men.

The Bible further says that when Absalom set out on his diabolical mission, he conscripted to himself simple men who knew nothing of his intentions.

And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing.” (2 Sam. 15:11)

In the same manner, men of spiritual simplicity hearken to the call of our modern-age celebrity preachers. They applaud and celebrate them. They call them “mighty men of God”.

Today, you hear all over the place, “Man of God! Man of God!”

You hear also men being referred to as “The man of the hour”; or, “The one and only So-and-so”.

All these inferences actually come from the world. It is the devil who brings them into the church.

And the men of God to whom this attention is directed keep silent because they love men’s approval.

When He was here on earth, our Lord Jesus Christ reacted strongly to such approbations when they were directed at Him. Jesus would not impute or allow any glory to be imputed to Him.

One time, someone called Jesus “good”, but Jesus would have none of it.

“16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God…” (Mat. 19:16-17)

Jesus could quietly have let it pass. But Jesus would only ascribe glory to God. He did not want any attention drawn to Himself.

On another occasion, Jesus responded in the same manner to a woman who tried to draw attention to the glories of His worldly birth.

“27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Lk. 11:27-28)

Jesus used every opportunity to draw attention to and give glory to God the Father and to His will.

That is why the church needs to have the mindset of Christ again, as with the early church. In Philippians 2:5-8, God through the Apostle Paul appeals to us:

“5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…”

What was this mind?

“6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Jesus humbled Himself, that He might become obedient to, and hence glorify God the Father.

We, too – preachers and laymen alike – need to humble ourselves in like manner to the end that God might be exalted. This requires the cross to work in our lives. The cross will break our pride and we shall become like Paul who, although he carried the greatest of all ministries, yet he could declare concerning himself, “… I be nothing” (2 Cor. 12:11).

[Let our lives be for nothing else but the exaltation of God]


For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption Act 13:36

When David is mentioned, all heaven stands. That’s a fact. The praises of David in heaven are great and many. David is one of the greatest men we read of in the Bible. Why is he great? The Bible gives us the answer right here in this verse. It says that David served his own generation by the will of God”.

What exactly does that mean?

The Swahili version of that portion of scripture says:

“Because David, after he had served the will of God in his generation, slept, and was laid to rest with his fathers, and saw corruption.”

David served the will of God! The reason that David is such an important figure in heaven is because in his lifetime, he served God’s purpose here on earth. On earth we revere men for many reasons. But God lauds men on account of only one thing – that they have done or are doing His will here on earth. Notice also how many times David is mentioned in the New Testament. It is for no other reason other than he served God by doing what pleased God.

In 1 Kings 15:5 we read,

Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”

If you put aside the unfortunate matter of Uriah’s wife, the Bible says that David did God’s will fully, and with all his heart.

Do you know how difficult it is for God to find someone who can do His whole will? It is extremely difficult. That is because man has a tendency to do his own will, not God’s. The man who can deny his own will and do God’s will is a truly rare gem. But this is the man who pleases God.

I can see God, in the days of Prophet Samuel, looking for a heart – a heart that trembled at His Word. God exalts Himself in the weak things. That is His nature. Before He ever sets out to do a task, the first thing that God does is to look for a humble heart. God looks for someone who does not exalt himself, for He can only work through such a person. And so, God looked all over Israel for someone with a humble heart. God looked and looked. Everyone was worshipping God all right; but God couldn’t find one person whose heart was humble enough to carry out His purpose.

But then God found David. David’s heart pleased the Lord. David probably did not even go to church, for he was busy tending his father’s flock. David probably did not do many things in the natural that are associated with religion. But in his heart he knew and worshipped God. He had a repentant heart. We can see that in Psalms 51.

And the minute God saw the heart of David, God knew He had found His man.

Many people think David was a great warrior. Yes, he was, but it was not in the natural. At no one time did David depend on his own strength in anything that he accomplished. In the natural, even his own brothers, who in all probability were not aware of his exploits with the lion and the bear, considered him a nobody (1 Sam. 17:28). He was so inconsequential that his father did not even think of him when presenting his sons to Samuel!

But God looks upon the heart, and He saw David had a humble heart. Even when he faced Goliath, we see that David did not depend on his own strength. He depended on God. These are the kinds of people that God is pleased with.

If we want to be used of God we must first examine our hearts. We must make sure there is no pride there. That is the very first step. God cannot deal with a man who has a haughty spirit. That also is God’s nature. In fact, since many impostors are popping up all over the church claiming to be men of God, I can show you right here how to tell a true man of God. A true man of God is humble to the core.

Did I say he is perfect? Hardly. But he is humble. And there are many things to tell you if he is humble. One of the greatest that I have found is that he is a man who easily merges with those that surround him. He does not consider himself more important than they. When you read about David in the Old Testament, you will find he had that quality. Our Lord Jesus also was so simple that you couldn’t tell Him apart from His disciples.

The quickest red flag to finding a person who is not a true servant of God today is a preacher who has bodyguards. A person who walks about with bodyguards is a person who has no idea what the gospel of Jesus Christ is about. If our Lord did not need bodyguards, why should a modern preacher require them?

But someone will say, “But David had his mighty men.”

The answer to that is that we are not living in the Old Testament. If we did so we would be required to go to war as David did. But we are living under the New Covenant. Notice that David “served his own generation by the will of God”. We must serve God in the Spirit of the New Covenant. The Spirit of the New Covenant is a Spirit of love, and of self-denial. Hence the need for the church today to understand the cross of Jesus Christ. It is only through the crucifixion of the old man, self, that we can walk in the perfectness of God, which is LOVE.

That is why Paul would tell the Corinthians,

“And I, brethren, when I came to you… determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).

There are great men according to this world. But there are also great men according to God. We must choose the right path to true greatness.

[Below: A young Nyaturu boy in rural Singida]


True Spiritual Armour

38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.

39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. 1 Sam. 17:38-39

The story of King David in the Bible has brought much excitement and delight to countless generations of God’s people. But not all of us realize that David’s life is a serious reflection of the life that we need to live in the Spirit. We probably are not aware that there is nothing “cool” about the life that David lived. On the contrary, it was a life where the flesh was constantly nailed to the cross in order that David could do God’s will.

The Bible testifies of David, that,

“… David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite” (1 Ki. 15:5).

From this scripture we can surmise that, except for his backsliding in the matter of Uriah’s wife, David paid a tremendous price to be able to please God to the extent that he did. In the Spirit, therefore, David was one of the greatest men who ever walked this earth. David had a humble and obedient heart. Were all God’s children to carry such a heart, there would be more joy in heaven than than there is now.

Let us now take a closer look at our subject matter.

Notice what happened here: “Saul armed David with his armour”.

Here a disaster of cataclysmic proportions was headed David’s way. David was about to be armed with Saul’s armour! But Saul was a man of the flesh, so much so that he had even been rejected by God as king over Israel (1 Sam. 15:26). And here he was, trying to fit David with his armour! That was a real disaster in the making. Had David gone to fight Goliath in that armour, Goliath would not have much of a fight on his hands. He probably would have fed David to the birds without even having to kill him first.

Unfortunately, David had no way of knowing that Saul was a man of the flesh, nor that God had rejected him from being king; so he tried on the king’s armour. But it simply wouldn’t fit, and the minute David put it on he knew it would be a hindrance rather than a help. In any case, David told the king, I have never used such armour.

David therefore put off Saul’s armour. Thank God for that! I am not sure whether the king was happy about that; but the Kingdom of God is not about pleasing men. David put off Saul’s armour because it was, in effect, the armour of the flesh.  But David was used to another kind of arlour, the armour of the Spirit. He had seen God deliver him from the lion and from the bear. In both instances, David had used the armour of the Spirit.

There is an armour in the flesh, and there is armour of the Spirit. When you fight with the armour of the flesh, you are bound to lose in the Spirit. But when you put on the armour of the Spirit, you will win.

The Apostle Paul gives us greater insight into this in Ephesians 6:

“10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” Eph. 6:10-18

There are a whole lot of spiritual forces that are at war with us as believers. There is much wickedness in the spirit world. Much of the time we are not aware of these things and we fight back against situations in the flesh. But these wicked powers are very much alive and they are spiritual. And they exploit the only thing in us that they can hinge their powers on – the old man of the flesh, or, the mind of the flesh. That is why, in Ephesians, Paul tells us to put on the whole armour of God. What is the armour of God? According to this scripture, it is the righteous life that we are called to live on this earth by the power of the Holy Spirit. When through the Spirit’s power we put to death the carnal nature in us we are able to walk in victory against all the spiritual forces that wage war against our souls.

When we are not saved, we are at home with these desires. But when we get saved, it is war!! They want to drag us back again into bondage.

Of course, war is a two-way affair. The lusts of the flesh wage war against us, and we wage war against them. But how, pray, do we wage war against the lusts of the flesh? It is by crucifying them. That is why the gospel of Jesus Christ speaks of denying self. The gospel is all about crucifying the flesh and its desires. In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul put this fact in a most insightful manner. He says:

“20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Eph. 4:20-24)

In other words, there are many ways of learning Christ. You can learn Christ and still walk in sin. But Paul tells the Ephesians that they learned of Christ in such a way that they would be able to walk “in righteousness and true holiness.”

These people learned Christ as a revelation, a revelation of the cross.

We should thank God that today we can walk in this revelation. The cross is the true power of Christ. By walking in the revelation of the cross, David put off the works of the flesh and defeated the enemy. In the same manner, when we put off the works of the flesh in our own lives, we can expect to walk in the same spiritual victory over sin and every work of Satan.

Let me end by saying that many believers are not willing to lose their lives. They will fight tooth and nail to protect their perceived rights and privileges. Some even talk of “basic rights”. One prominent preacher here recently said in an open-air meeting: “The Bible says that it is more blessed to give than to receive” – and threw a punch signifying that Christians ought not to just lie low when their rights are taken away from them.

That was a preacher twisting scripture to fit in with his inability to crucify his flesh.

And that was what King Saul did. And he lost in the Spirit.

[Below: A Hindu temple in Musoma Town]


God Looks Upon The Heart!

1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Ps. 51:1-3

David is undoubtedly one of the most rotten sinners in the Bible. He lusted after his neighbor’s wife, had the man, Uriah, killed, and took the woman to be his wife.

But God wouldn’t allow such folly from one of His most trusted servants to go unpunished. David would reap heavily as a result of this sin. His family would be torn apart, and he would lose many things in the natural.

But it is the heart that David maintained after he had sinned that we are to be most concerned with. Notice, in the scripture above, that David acknowledged his sin.

Now, people read this kind of scripture and they think it was a stroll in the garden for David. Such would be the case had David not been doing it from the heart. Many believers do that all the time. But with David it was done from the heart, and it cost him dearly.

You would be surprised to learn how difficult it is for believers to actually confess or acknowledge their sins. If it is going to come from the heart, then it’s gonna cost. It’s gonna hurt! Unfortunately, it is not in our human system to want to pay the price attached to this kind of acknowledgement, the heart confession. Unless Christ has done a work in our hearts, we will only concede a little bit of lip service, a casual “I am sorry”; or we will simply ignore the situation and go about “building God’s Kingdom” as if nothing had happened.

One time I had an argument with a brother from my church, and I became charged. I told him, “The problem with your tribe is that you are mule-headed!”

The minute I said that, I become conscious of the fact that I had crossed an invisible red line in the spirit. You could feel it because the atmosphere changed immediately I said those words. Deep in my heart I realized, instantly, that I was in deep trouble.

But I also knew, right there and then, what I needed to do. I needed to confess and repent of my sin.

You would think that I began dancing with joy at this clear revelation of what I needed to do in order to get right with this brother and with God. But you would also be surprised to learn how, once we are seated on our high horse of self-righteousness, it is the most difficult thing to climb down. We would rather walk from the North Pole all the way to the South Pole and back and probably even accept to die along the way, than admit that we are in the wrong!

But I thank God for His grace. In my heart I knew exactly what I needed to do, and the Lord gave me the readiness to do it. I waited till I was ready to escort the brother out and then I told him, “Brother, I want you to forgive me. I ought not to have said those words to you.”

The brother put his hand on my arm and said, “No, brother, what you said is the truth, everyone knows it.”

“No”, I replied. “Probably that’s the way men see it, but it is not the way God sees you. In any case, I have sinned before you and before God and I really need you to forgive me.”

Sometimes you need to go down before you can go up! We made amends with my brother and from that day, God set me free from the bigotry that I had in my heart towards that particular tribe. I became completely free in this area!

Henceforth, God has tested and reminded me to humble myself and accept these brothers even as Christ has accepted them.

The revelation of the cross in our hearts does wonders in the Spirit… one of the things it does is to bring true relationships between us and our brethren, and between us and God.

A Liberal Heart

26 And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD;

27 To them which were in Bethel, and to them which were in south Ramoth, and to them which were in Jattir,

28 And to them which were in Aroer, and to them which were in Siphmoth, and to them which were in Eshtemoa,

30:29 And to them which were in Rachal, and to them which were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to them which were in the cities of the Kenites,

30 And to them which were in Hormah, and to them which were in Chorashan, and to them which were in Athach,

31 And to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt. 1 Sam. 30:26-31

Someone wanted to send me some money recently, and they asked me for my bank account number. I told the brother I did not have a bank account.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“I just said I do not have a bank account, didn’t you hear?” I shouted back. Anyone from my tribe is simply unable to talk quietly, especially on the phone.

The man was livid. “Mwita, don’t be stupid! Are you telling me that at your age you have never opened a bank account?”

“Exactly. Yes.”

The silence was deafening as the man, a fellow tribesman, tried to find his cool. We are also famous for our ‘short fuse’.

I sat quietly back and gave him all the rope he needed. As I sat there listening to him huffing and puffing, my mind went back to those “stupid” years, the early years of my salvation. In those years I used to work and had a salary, but I never felt the need to open a bank account. Instead, I would share my money with anyone in need.

Those were the days. There was no greater joy than to bring a smile to someone’s face, to alleviate someone’s misery.

I believe that when the joy of the Lord comes to our hearts, one fruit of that joy is that we immediately think of other people. Carrying a generous heart is one way of telling God, “Thank you.” And yet, still, that does not come from us; it is of God. In all my saved life, the Lord has never blessed me financially or materially and never put it on my heart to bless somebody else. To my shame I cannot say that I have always obeyed His soft voice, but He has always been faithful to remind me.

That is what we see David doing here. The Lord had blessed Him with much spoil. David’s joy was expressed, not in hoarding what he had received, but by sharing it with his friends, his brethren, and everyone, near and far.

This is the heart that we all need to have, for it is the heart of God. That is why whenever God blesses us, He will always remind us to bless others.

[Below: An African wood carving]


Understanding God’s Righteousness Produces Humility

(1 Samuel chapter 30)

Some people think that David became king of Israel because he could play the harp. No, sir. The reason David became king of Israel is because he had a certain kind of heart which we all need to have if we are to be kings and priests in the Kingdom of God.

The background to this story is that the Amalekites had come and attacked David’s town of Siklag, burning it to the ground and taking all the people (mainly women and children) while David and his men were away. But God gave David and his men direction, courage and strength and they followed after the Amalekites to rescue their people. But the Amalekites had had a 3-day start and this meant that David and his men had to move fast – too fast, in fact, that some men fainted by the way. When they arrived at a stream called Besor, two hundred men were unable to cross over, and David and some four hundred of his men who were able to move on had to leave these here, no doubt guarding any excess luggage.

David and his men caught up with the Amalekites and the Lord gave them a sounding victory over them. It appears the Amalekites were a very large number because the Bible says that “16 …. behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth… And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled.” 1 Sam. 30:16-17

Thus David rescued all his people and he recovered everything the Amalekites had stolen. But the Amalekites had also raided other cities and they therefore had an enormous amount of booty. All of this David and his men recovered also from them.

When David came back to the men whom he had left at the brook Besor, the Bible says that these men “went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them.” (v. 21)

David saluted them. I love that. He said, “Howdy, guys! How have you been?” I can see the warm smile on his face at finding his men safe, well and no doubt refreshed.

But, unfortunately, there were amongst the men who had gone with David to war “wicked men and men of Belial” (meaning men of Satan), who were against the 200 who had remained behind being given any of the spoils “save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart.”

I cannot even begin to contemplate the utter helplessness and futility that the men to whom these words were directed felt. Those words must have been like knives cutting into their intestines. And it would have been doubly so, coming from their comrades-in-arms.

I thank God for men like David.

Now, if you are in church and you have such an attitude towards your fellow brethren as these men had, then the Bible straightaway calls you a wicked person and a son (or daughter) of the devil. That’s quite a rotten heart, anyway.

And while I am at it, may I point out that too many Christians today are trying to escape responsibility by playing the judgement card. If you say something they feel they are not comfortable with, they say, “Don’t be judgemental!” or “Don’t condemn!”

If someone is judging or condemning me, that’s their problem with God. On my part, it would be of far greater profit to me if I were to take their ‘judgement’ as a challenge.

But let us get back to David. When David heard these wicked men’s words, you would think that since they had played such a big part in the rescue mission David would hearken to them or try to hold some sort of council meeting with them.

But David promptly shot down the idea. But, even more importantly, it is the fashion in which he ‘killed’ that idea that is of interest to us here. “Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand.” (v. 23)

David did not say, “OK, guys, I know you’ve worked your knuckles off…”, no! In no way would David allow himself, nor those with him, to lose sight of the One who had given them the victory. He gave all the credit for the success of the mission to God.

There and then David declared that the spoils would be divided equally among those who had gone to battle and those who had remained behind.

And, the Bible says, “ it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day.” (v.25)

If you can’t say “Amen!” to that you aren’t far from the grave.

When we get to know the righteousness of God, we arrive at the foundation of fulfilling God’s law in our lives. In the first place we are so humbled we consider ourselves as nothing. Secondly, we put God on the pedestal of our lives and since we are no longer there (we are dead to ourselves) we consider all that we have accomplished as not accomplished by us, but by Him.

Lastly, of course, we acknowledge that we are no different from those who have done lesser than we, or even those who have done nothing. I believe this is the greatest challenge facing many of the “self-made” Christians we see today. I personally won’t go as far as calling anyone “wicked men and men of Belial” here, but the Bible does so, and those words are certainly a shot across the bows of anyone who harbors pride and self-righteousness in their hearts.

When we are walking in the righteousness of God, we humbly acknowledge that He who accomplishes things in us is the same who fails to accomplish them in others. Human logic is thrown out the window here; you cannot say, “Oh, because I did this I deserve that!” Sometimes the reward will go to the one who did nothing. For God’s ways – and judgements – are unsearchable.

The Apostle Paul says, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Rom. 11:33

[Below: Each one has a part to play in church; none is more important than the other.]