Fathers, Pastors, Prophets and Me? Pt 1
Perhaps one of the major differences between millennial Christians and the generations before us is the ease at which we ‘call out’ pastors, fathers, prophets and other servants of God on social media. Often these ‘call outs’ are laced with references to Jesus and his reactions to the religious leaders of his time. The overthrowing of the money changers in the Temple is an example readily cited (Matthew 21:12-16). I think such references are often misquoted and misused.
It is often forgotten that one of the key differences between Jesus and the religious leaders was his authority.
Matthew 7:28 -29 - When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law. (NLT)
He was clearly different from them not just in word but in power too (Acts 10:38). Jesus confronted the leaders by both his actions and words which were evident to all. He was ‘calling out’ pastors AND healing the sick (Luke 6:1-11), walking on water (Matthew 14:25-26), and feeding thousands with fish and bread (Mark 6:37-42). He wasn’t calling out pastors and then watching Netflix. Suppose we set Jesus aside because he is the Son of God, perhaps his standard is too high for us to attain? There is, however, another biblical example we can learn from in this area, namely King David.
David was chosen and selected by God at a very young age. Yet both his father and the prophet missed it. What does this tell us? You can actually be the most anointed, called and chosen person out there and your pastor or father of the house can miss it completely. It is true that pastors can and do get things wrong. We see clear biblical examples of this in David's story.
1 Samuel 16:6 -7 - When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the LORD’s anointed!” But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (NLT)
1 Samuel 16:10 - 11 - In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen any of these.” Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.” “Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.” (NLT)
Samuel the Prophet looked at physical characteristics to determine who would be the king of Israel. Jesse, David’s father thought that David was irrelevant and insignificant. Both were wrong, God chose someone completely different. Had this been today, we would not be surprised if we were to stumble across a post or video about the mistakes of Samuel and Jesse. But, the fact that those ahead of us can be wrong does not mean that we should take to social media to call them out.
I believe this for (at least) three biblical reasons:
1) After Samuel’s mistake God did not set him aside. God did not say ‘Because you do not see things the way I do or choose what I choose, I will replace you.’ He simply corrected Samuel's thinking and then moved on. God continued to work through Samuel and told him to anoint David.
2) Despite Jesse’s belief that David was irrelevant and his decision to not even count David as one of his sons, we find that throughout the Scriptures, David is constantly referred to in reference to his dad. We are regularly reminded that David was the son of Jesse.
2 Samuel 23: 1 - These are the last words of David: “David, the son of Jesse, speaks.....
Ruth 4: 22 - Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David.
Psalm 72:20 - (This ends the prayers of David son of Jesse.)
Matthew 1: 6 - Jesse was the father of King David.....
There are so many ways that David could have been referred to – David, the King of Israel, David, a man after God’s heart, David, who slew Goliath or he could have been called his mother’s son. Yet the Bible, and therefore God by extension, chose to explicitly refer to David with reference to his father. There is even a passage where Jesse is mentioned without any mention of David whatsoever.
Isaiah 11: 1 - A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. (NIV)
This suggests that despite Jesse's initial mistake, it was not counted against him and he did not lose his place in history.
3) The third point relates to Saul. Saul in a certain sense was a father to David, in that he was an elder statesman. In fact, Saul, was the only other statesman David could seek help and guidance from because Saul was the first king of Israel. Despite this Saul treated David terribly. Today we would call Saul an insecure, wicked and manipulative leader. He used David when he wanted something from him. Abandoned David when he had finished with him, threatened him and actively sought to kill him on multiple occasions. David was a fugitive and exiled for no other reason than being anointed and chosen by God. Yet despite all of this, David did not repay Saul's evil with evil.
Okay, I think I need to stop here. This post is turning into an essay...…I will continue in my next post.