207. TAKING THE GRACE, GOODNESS AND SPIRITUAL GIFTS OF GOD FOR GRANTED
(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 3)
What did SOLOMON, SAMSON and DAVID (three men in the Bible) have in common?
If you think about it, you will realize that they had much in common, so much so, that a pattern can be detected, if we examine the lives they lived.
Let’s take a look at three (3) similarities:
1. All three men had A GREAT GOD-GIVEN PURPOSE for their existence in life, which was PLANNED BY GOD BEFORE THEY EVEN KNEW IT and in two of the cases, before they were even born.
DAVID – A man with a special God-given purpose
David was the last of Jesse’s eight (8) sons and the one that was given the lowly responsibility of keeping the sheep. It doesn’t seem that he was even considered to be worthy enough or important enough to be invited to the mysterious meeting that the Prophet Samuel had suddenly asked Jesse to arrange with himself and all of his sons.
Yet, God purposed that it was this lowly shepherd boy that would sit on the throne of Israel as king. Although he was not initially at the meeting where all of his other seven (7) brothers had gathered, he eventually had to be called. For, Samuel was sure that God had given him the instruction to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be the next king of Israel but as each of the seven (7) sons who were summoned to the meeting presented themselves, God revealed to Samuel that this was not the one he had chosen. Possibly a bit baffled, Samuel asked Jesse if the sons present were all the sons he had and it was only then that Jesse revealed that he had one other son but he attended to the sheep.
When Jesse told him that there was one more, the youngest, who kept the sheep, whether this was said so as to dismiss David as ineligible, unworthy and insignificant for such a great purpose of God or otherwise, Samuel still called for David and refused to sit down until he arrived.
As God had purposed, lowly as he may have been and as insignificant as he may have been considered to be by his own family, it was this shepherd boy that God told Samuel to anoint.
When Samuel met David, the Bible states in verses 12-13:
- “Now he was ruddy and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.”
God’s plan for David was in the making before he even knew it. The present king, Saul, had disobeyed God’s command and Samuel had informed him that the Lord would take his kingdom away from him and give it to another man better than him. It was then that the Lord directed Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:1: “…fill thine horn with oil and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.”
On a side note, God has demonstrated time and time again, that he is unfazed by people’s low opinions of us. Whatever he has purposed, no matter what people think of us, by his grace and his empowerment, he achieves it in us. This is because we are not who people say we are or who they think we are. We are who God says we are and we will be who he says we will be.
SOLOMON – A man with a special God-given purpose
Solomon was the second child of Bathsheba and king David, the first having died. Before Solomon was even conceived, David recounts in 1 Chronicles 22:8-10:
- “But the word of the Lord came to me, saying…Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.”
God therefore purposed before Solomon was conceived, that his name would be Solomon, that he would be the next king of Israel after David’s reign (despite the fact that David had other sons), that he would have a peaceful reign, that he would build a house for his name and that he would have relationship with the Lord, like David his father.
SAMSON – A man with a special God-given purpose
Samson’s mother had difficulty conceiving, until the day an angel of the Lord appeared to her in the form of a man and told her that she would conceive and bear a son. This son was to have a special purpose in God’s eyes. He was going to be the product of an idea hatched in heaven by God and the angel therefore communicated special instructions, as to how the mother was to conduct herself and treat the child.
As far as we are aware, the angel gave no instructions as to what Samson’s parents should call him but it was obvious to his parents that with this child, (which had not yet even been conceived), that God had business to transact on the earth in relation to the Philistines (the enemy of the Israelites) and had purposed to use him (before he was even conceived, formed or knew himself to be himself), as his agent in fulfilling it.
In Judges 13:2-5 it states:
- “And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
CHRISTIANS TODAY – People with a special God-given purpose
Just like God did with David, Solomon and Samson, God has called and chosen those who are his in Christ and he has planned what work we will do for his Kingdom, even before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4; 2:10). All those who believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was raised by the Godhead on the third day therefore and confess him as Lord, reside on this earth for as long as God would have them, to fulfill, not their own agenda but his, according to what He has purposed for their lives.
Ephesians 1:3-12 declares:
- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved…Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself…In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”
Ephesians 2:10 further states of those who have believed on Jesus and accepted his Lordship (Christians): “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath BEFORE ORDAINED that we should walk in them.”
In Ephesians, Paul makes it clear, that our being chosen for God’s purposes had nothing to do with us or with us being more special than others. It was all about God and him choosing to redeem us to himself and for his divine purposes. He has planned out the Christian’s life in terms of what he wants him to achieve and to become and it is our responsibility to humbly serve him and submit to his will, whatever that may be.
Verses 4-9 state:
- “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
2. All three men were GIFTED SPIRITUALLY BY GOD and expected to use that gift for his divine assignment and glory.
When God gave David, Solomon and Samson purpose according to the counsel of his own will, he equipped and strengthened them spiritually or with spiritual gifts, to enable them to carry out their mandate and to live life in a way that was pleasing to him.
They had a calling on their lives and so could not just live any old how. God expected them to be holy, to obey him and to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of their high calling.
DAVID – Gifted spiritually by God for the work for which he was chosen
2 Samuel 10:13 states that after David had been anointed by Samuel the Prophet to be king, “…the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.”
The Lord equipped David with HIS spirit, so much so, that his strength, skill, wisdom and relationship with the Lord was noticeable by others observing him. In 1 Samuel 16:18 for example, when Saul was advised to obtain a person who was skilful in the playing of instruments, to come and play before him whenever he was troubled with an evil spirit, a servant of Saul spoke highly of what he had observed of David. He stated:
- “…Behold I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him.”
Notably, David was no longer described by this observer, as Jesse had described him prior to the anointing. Before David had been anointed by God through the Prophet Samuel, Jesse referred to him as one that merely kept the sheep but after the anointing when the spirit of the Lord came upon David, the observer bringing king Saul the report, described David as mighty, prudent, a man of war, skilful with the instrument and that the Lord was with him. The spiritual gifting of the Lord upon David was that remarkable. It could not be hidden.
When Saul began to suspect, from his own observation of David and due to the excellence that was noticeable in him, that it was David that was to be his replacement as king, 1 Samuel 18:12 and 14 states: “And Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him and was departed from Saul… And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him.”
SOLOMON – Gifted spiritually by God for the work for which he was chosen
In 1 Kings 3:5-13, after Solomon had been born and grown into a man and become king, just as God had purposed for his life before he was even born, God equipped him with wisdom to govern the people of Israel. This came about after God had enquired of Solomon what he would like to be granted. Instead of asking for riches or any other self-serving benefit, Solomon asked for an understanding heart to judge the people. God was so pleased with this selfless request, that he gave him wisdom but still bestowed upon him riches and honour. In fact, what God gave him was so great, that not only did he build a wonderful house for the Lord as God appointed him to do from before he was even conceived but his fame was spread abroad.
The scripture states:
- “In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
- And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.”
The wisdom, honour and riches that God bestowed upon Solomon (not for himself but for God’s purposes that he had planned for him before he had even been conceived) was noticeable by others, just as David’s conduct and character after the spirit of God came upon him was noticed.
It is safe to say therefore, that when God chooses someone for a work and he equips them spiritually, this is observed by others.
After Solomon had ruled wisely on a matter involving a living baby, a dead baby and two women, 1 Kings 3:28 states “And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.”
After Solomon had built a house for the Lord as God had purposed for him to do before his conception, the Queen of Sheba visited him, after hearing of the excellency of his wisdom, riches and honour.
In 1 Kings 10:1-9 it states:
- “And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions… and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon’s wisdom, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.”
SAMSON – Gifted spiritually by God for the work for which he was chosen
Samson was also equipped and empowered by God for the purpose to which he had been brought into the world.
The angel of the Lord that had appeared to Samson’s mother, had informed her that Samson would begin to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. At the time, the Israelites were in bondage to the Philistines and this continued for a total of forty (40) years.
Samson was who God planned to use even before he was born, to begin to deliver the Israelites from this bondage and this would require someone who was war-like and strong. The spirit of the Lord therefore operated through Samson when he was born and as he grew, so as to equip, empower and strengthen him for this purpose.
In Judges 13:24-25 it states:
- “And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. And the spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.”
In Judges 14:5-6, it states:
- “Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. And the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand…”
CHRISTIANS TODAY – Gifted spiritually by God for the work for which we are chosen
Like David, Solomon and Samson, the Lord has equipped and empowered those who have believed in and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into their hearts with His spirit and with spiritual gifts, not so that they can live their lives as they please but for the purposes he has planned for them to do, from as early as before the foundation of the world.
He expects those that he has called out and chosen, to walk worthy of this high calling, to obey him and to submit their lives to His plan, whatever it is.
Concerning how God has equipped Christians spiritually for the work he has appointed for each to do as part of the body of Christ, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 states:
- “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”
In Ephesians 4:1-6, Paul states to the Ephesian Christians (and it is applicable to Christians today):
- “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
3. All three men appear to have MADE THE MISTAKE OF THINKING PRESUMPTUOUSLY, that the spiritual blessing they had from God, their relationship with him and his love toward them, would render them immune, from ever becoming estranged from him, falling and from suffering for sin and wrongdoing.
David, Solomon and Samson all had a close relationship with the Lord.
In fact, David was described by the Lord, through Samuel the Prophet in 1 Samuel 13:14 and before Samuel had even approached David to anoint him, as “…a man after his own heart.”
In 2 Samuel 12:25, it states that, when Solomon was born, “…the Lord loved him. And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord.” Jedidiah means beloved of the Lord.
In Judges 13:5, when the angel appeared to Samson’s mother before his conception, he told her that “…the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb…”
Yet, these three men took the calling on their lives and the spiritual gift or empowerment they had received by the grace of God, for granted. All three sinned presumptuously and in particular, all three allowed their fixation with women, to negatively affect their relationship with the Lord and to be their downfall.
DAVID – Disobeyed God’s command and toyed with sin
Although David was married to at least two (2) wives who he could have easily called to satisfy him physically at any time, he allowed his eyes to stray and to lust after the body of another man’s wife, although he knew that adultery was expressly forbidden by God.
As king, he then gave instructions for her to be brought to him and he slept with her, without regard, in his moment of passion, for her husband or for God.
She then became pregnant with his child and to cover up his adultery, he tried to get her husband Uriah to go home to her and sleep with her, so that the child could be passed off as his own. When this did not work, he arranged subtly to have Uriah killed in battle, by placing him at a point where he was highly likely to die. (2 Samuel 11)
His intention was to cover his sin but God had seen and when he thought he had gotten away with it and that God had turned a blind eye to what he had done, he punished him.
Proverbs 6:27-29 rightly warns:
- “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.”
David repented of his sin but God still decided to punish him by allowing the child which was born out of that sin, to die. Later on, a whole lot of problems ensued in his family with one of his adult sons raping his daughter (his adult son’s half sister), then another of David’s sons killing the one who had committed the incident, for revenge. That son which had killed the other son for what he had done to their sister, then tried to take the throne from David by force, causing him to have to flee for his own life, until he received a report that he was dead.
SOLOMON – Disobeyed God’s command and toyed with sin
Solomon knew full well that the Lord had commanded that Israelites were not to be joined in marriage with other people who were not Israelites but to be separate and holy before God. Yet, he loved many strange women who did not know or care about the true and living God. He had seven hundred (700) wives, princesses and three hundred (300) concubines.
In aligning himself with many of these non-Israelite, ungodly women, they caused his relationship with the Lord to become distant (although he probably thought that this would not be affected) and he began to honour the wishes of his wives over God (because he loved them so much), by erecting false gods for them to worship and sacrifice to.
Eventually, just as the Lord said would happen, when he was old and at his most vulnerable, they turned his heart away from God and to idolatry, as in trying to please his strange wives, he set up these false, lifeless gods for them and allowed them to engage in their evil idol worshipping practices (1 King 11:1-10).
As a result, God was angry with Solomon and decided to take the Kingdom away from him and give it to someone outside of Solomon’s lineage. For David’s sake though, he allowed Solomon to continue on the throne until he died and then allowed only one (1) of the twelve tribes of Israel to be retained by Solomon’s son, for him to reign over.
Jeroboam was given the eleven (11) other tribes and became king over them, resulting in a division with the governance of the twelve (12) tribes. God also removed the rest that Solomon had enjoyed for so long and which God had said that he would have before he was even born, by stirring up an adversary against him in the form of a man called Hadad, the Edomite.
SAMSON – Disobeyed God’s command and toyed with sin
Samson had a penchant, seemingly, for women that were not Israelites. He too knew the command of the Lord, that he was to not marry or join with such ungodly women.
Yet, when he went down to Timnath, he saw there a Philistine woman and was determined to marry her. His lust for this woman made him forget, seemingly, the call that was upon his life, where he was created by God to begin to deliver the Israelites from the very Philistines, who had them in bondage. The Philistines were therefore to be considered by him as the enemy but due to the lust of the eye, he decided he wanted to marry the enemy, a Philistine woman and so he compromised.
This did not end well as was to be expected but instead of learning from his mistake, Samson went to Gaza and slept with a harlot. As if this was not bad enough, he then fell in love with another non-Israelite woman, named Delilah.
This woman was worse than the woman in Timnath who betrayed Samson’s trust because the life of she and her father had been threatened. Unlike the woman in Timnath with whom Samson had been involved previously, Delilah (his new fling), willingly agreed with the Philistines, without any threat hanging over her head, to sell Samson out for money and he played right into her hands. Through her help, he was captured by the Philistines, his eyes were put out (which must have been painful) and he was made to stand in a place where many Philistines had gathered, so that they could celebrate his capture, give praise to their false god and ridicule him.
He did fulfill God’s purpose for his life though. For, after praying to God for strength one more time, God answered and he pulled down the two pillars of the building between which he had been made to stand, killing all of the many Philistines who had gathered there. Sadly, in doing so, he also lost his life in the process. This did not have to be the outcome, had he lived his life in a manner pleasing to God (Judges 14 and 16).
CHRISTIANS TODAY – Disobeying God’s command and toying with sin
I have learned from the experiences of David, Solomon, Samson and even in my own life, that it doesn’t matter who you are, how strong a relationship you have with the Lord, what he has called you to do and how much he has blessed and equipped you spiritually.
When you play with sin, it brings you down and leaves nothing but heartache in its wake. It takes you out of the realm of God’s blessings and places you in the realm of his curses, which can manifest in all sort of ways.
Similarly to these three men, at times, we take our relationship with God, our high calling in Christ, his GRACE, his GOODNESS and his SPIRITUAL GIFTS for granted.
We delude ourselves into thinking that we are so good with God that we can sin and come out unscaled. We presumptuously think that we will not be punished or that we will be able to continue on with God the same as before. We think that we are strong enough to withstand sin’s disastrous effects and so we take a chance and disobey God.
However, as was seen in the lives of David, Solomon and Samson, sin impairs our close walk with the Lord and leads us on a path to destruction. God also punishes us irrespective of how close a relationship we have had with him in the past and the high calling to which he has called us.
Even when we repent like David did, sometimes, God still decides to allow negative consequences to flow in our lives and when we dabble with sin, there is no telling what that may be or how long it may affect us.
It cost Solomon’s son the kingdom, David’s baby died, his family was later plunged into mayhem and Samson lost his eyes and then his life. When God’s children toy with sin, we lose a whole lot and this may continue on for much longer than we had expected or anticipated.
When we realize that we are part of God’s family because we have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, we must realize that the GOODNESS, GRACE and SPIRITUAL GIFTS that come as a result are for God’s purpose which he wants to work out in our lives, according to HIS will and which he planned from before the foundation of the world. We ought not to take these things for granted and to go out on a limb and disobey God, as this will affect our walk with God, no matter who we are or how strong in the faith we think we are and we WILL be punished for our disobedience, in excruciating ways.
Of exploiting GRACE, Paul states in Romans 6:1-2:“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid.”
Of exploiting God’s GOODNESS, Paul states in Romans 2:4: “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”
On the topic of the reason for our spiritual gifts, Paul puts everything into perspective, reminding us that the Lord did not empower us with these to serve ourselves, to go our own wayward way and to do our own thing like Balaam tried to do with his gift in Numbers 22. God empowered us for the work that he called us to do for his Kingdom, that which he planned for us before the world was even founded.
Of the Kingdom agenda in the distribution of our spiritual gifts, Paul states of the Lord:
- “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…”
In conclusion, learning from the lives of David, Solomon, Samson and even Christians today, the message is: Walk in GRACE but do not take it for granted. Enjoy God’s GOODNESS but know that this is a privilege. Whatever SPIRITUAL GIFTING God has given to you, know that you did not give yourself, so that you cannot boast. It was not given for your self-exaltation or for your own wayward will but so that you would humbly do the will of your Father who gave it and in so doing, fulfill the purpose for which God created you, placed you on earth and redeemed you to himself through the blood of his Son Jesus Christ.
If you are a Christian, God has a PURPOSE for your life. That is why you are here. If you are a Christian, he has equipped you with some spiritual gift or gifts, so as to enable you to fulfill your purpose. What he has given you may not be the same as what he has given to somebody else but he has given you all that you will need to fulfill his divine mandate for your life.
Do NOT take this for granted.
The way that this world is wired, there are temptations and other distractions that will arise to seek to derail you from your purpose. This is because the devil wants you to abort your God-given mission, your reason for being. Don’t allow him to mess with your calling as he did in the lives of David, Solomon and Samson. Don’t get off the path that God designed for you to trod. If you did, repent now and get back to where you know you are supposed to be.
(Written on 8th December, 2018)
Dear Reader, if this Article benefited you in any way, you may be also interested in reading the following:
- Note 148 –‘What Does The Bible Say About Being Unequally Yoked With An Unbeliever?’
- Note 203 – ‘Were You Deceived Or Disobedient?’
Additionally, under the ‘BROKEN Daughters of God’ Page:
- Note 7 – ‘The Backslider And The Book Of Lamentations’
- Note 11 – ‘What Is Repentance?
- Note 13 – ‘Backslider, Repent!’