Recognize – Care – Commit – Persevere
Compassion is important to following God’s schedule: based on David’s early interactions with Saul and on Christ teaching in two parables—God uses call to compassion to direct a person to blessing he has ordained. He calls the person regarding a need and expects them to recognize the need, care about the needy, commit to providing, and persevere in seeking to alleviate the need. Earn blessing by completing the call or incur punishment by declining. Illustrations from David show he completed three calls to compassion early during his period as king in waiting and each completion led him to accomplish a goal and key step toward becoming king of Israel.
The bible study series on Following God’s Schedule examines David’s interactions during the period between his anointing to be king and his confirmation by the people of Israel. The study focuses on understanding his following God’s schedule toward kingship notwithstanding the schedule was not revealed to him a priori. His path to kingship after the anointing included a transition from King Saul, kingship training for David, and preparing the people of Israel to accept David as king. God had a plan and schedule for each of these, required David to follow the schedule, but did not reveal the plan or schedule to him.
The study is applicable to everyday life because David’s situation is quite similar to common human experience. As we discuss in Prayer of Joseph from the Dungeon, God at times grants a prayer with a promise to be fulfilled to fit his overall plan for the recipient, sets a schedule for fulfilling the promise, requires the recipient to follow the schedule, but may not reveal the schedule or plan. The recipient needs to follow the schedule to receive fulfillment of the promise just like David needed to follow God’s schedule to become king.
God provided his schedule to David piecemeal, as a series of preparatory and precursory events: preparatory events are those that prepared him for future occurrences, whereas a precursory event is one that is necessary to trigger a future occurrence. David’s choices regarding the events determined whether he followed or departed from God’s schedule. The study series focuses on understanding his choices in various events in the context of Christ teaching. We discuss David’s choices as they illustrate God’s purpose for human interactions and relationships, which Christ emphasizes in his teachings presented live several generations after David.
This session of the series focuses on compassion, based on David’s early interactions with Saul and others and on Christ teaching through two parables: the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats and the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Through the teachings, Christ explains that God uses a call to compassion to direct a recipient to a blessing, such as an achievement step toward fulfillment of a promise. The recipient earns the blessing by completing the call to compassion or incurs punishment by declining. Illustrations from David show he completed three calls to compassion early in his interactions with Saul and each completion led him to accomplish a goal and key step toward becoming king of Israel.
Compassion Based on Christ Teaching
Through two parables—Parable of the Sheep and the Goats and Parable of the Good Samaritan—Christ explains that God directs a person to blessing via a need, expects the person to recognize the need, care about the needy, commit to providing, and persevere in seeking to alleviate the need. As we discuss previously under Call to Compassion—Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, God directs people to needs as opportunities for every person to be a provider of human service to others and receiver of service provided by others. Thus, he assigns tasks to individuals as opportunities to help themselves through helping others. A person earns blessing by completing the task, i.e., providing service to alleviate the need. In contrast, a person incurs punishment by declining.
CALL TO COMPASSION God creates every person to be his Provider Assistant (channel for providing service to others) and assigns responsibilities to each person through a call to compassion: i.e., an invitation to recognize a need placed on your path, care about the needy, commit to providing service to address the need, and persevere in seeking to alleviate the need. A call to compassion is synonymous with an invitation to be sensitive to a need placed on your path. As we discuss in Love through Compassion—Parable of the Good Samaritan, sensitivity to a need (aka compassion) requires the following.
- Recognize the need,
- Care for the needy,
- Commit to providing service to address the need, and
- Persevere in seeking to alleviate the need.
A call to compassion is an opportunity for a person to function as God’s Provider Assistant and earn blessing. In essence, God ordains blessing for a person and directs the person to the blessing through a call to compassion. Those that accept the call and complete the task earn the blessing. Those that fail incur punishment.
Compassion in Terms of Basic Needs
Christ teaches the relationship through the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, where he uses basic needs to illustrate the relationship between a call to compassion and the reward.
A person earns blessing by completing the call [Matthew 25:35–36]: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” In contrast, a person incurs punishment by declining the call [Matthew 25:42-43]: “For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”
As we discuss in a previous bible study under Parental Responsibility Based on Childhood of Jesus, every human need can be shown to consist of combinations of basic needs such as food and drink, clothing, shelter, protection, and a group of needs that we refer to as community values. By describing human service in terms of basic needs, Christ includes every need and emphasizes performing the provider-assistant responsibility instead of the specific goods or services provided in a given situation. Therefore, the service that Christ describes through the parable [Matthew 25:35–36 or 42–43] is not limited to the specific needs mentioned but includes every human need. Thus, the description in Matthew 25:35–36 can be paraphrased as: I placed a need in your path and you provided for it (i.e., you received and completed a call to compassion). Similarly, the description in Matthew 25:42–43 can be paraphrased as: I placed a need in your path and you declined providing for it (i.e., you received and declined a call to compassion).
Compassion for Non-Basic Needs
The principle of completing or declining a call to compassion applies to every need, whether basic or more complicated (i.e., non-basic).
The Parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates a call to compassion regarding non-basic need (for more details, see Love through Compassion—Parable of the Good Samaritan). The priest recognized the need but declined by looking the other way. So did the Levite. In contrast, the Samaritan recognized the need, cared about the needy, committed to providing, and persevered in seeking to alleviate the need. The Samaritan showed commitment and perseverance by seeking and securing assistance for service he could not provide by himself and committing to provide subsequent support for such service [Luke 10:35]: “The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’”
Compassion Based on David
David experienced calls to compassion after his anointing and his completion of the assigned task in each case led to his accomplishing a key step toward becoming king.
Palliative Care for Saul
David was tasked with providing palliative care to Saul and he was effective in providing the service [1 Samuel 16:23]: “And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.” He recognized when Saul needed care and provided service (played the harp) diligently to alleviate the need. Saul retained David in his service and made him armorbearer. Thus, David entered military service under Saul, a key step in his training for kingship.
Errand to Check on Brothers
David was called to obtain factual report for his father regarding his brothers in battle at the Valley of Elah.
As we discuss under David Called to Mission—Messaging Child through Parent, the call came to David through normal parent-child interaction when his father sent him on an errand to check on his brothers at the battlefield and report their conditions back to him. He encountered Goliath’s defiance while in the process of completing the errand. The encounter with Goliath caused David to transition from his father’s errand to a new mission of confronting and killing Goliath and leading Israel to victory over Philistines. He recognized the need, cared, committed, and persevered. His commitment and perseverance showed through his going after his brothers at the battlefront having missed them at the camp.
Motivations Against Goliath
David was called to battle against Goliath and lead Israel to victory against Philistines. While at the battlefront to meet with his brothers, David overheard Goliath’s defiance, saw the defiance as a disgrace to Israel, and was dismayed that Israel’s men were afraid of the Philistine. He was motivated to kill Goliath to remove the disgrace and confirm Israel’s army as the army of the living God. He recognized the need and cared [1 Samuel 17:26]: “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” Furthermore, his commitment and perseverance showed through his response to discouragement from his brothers and from Saul and his success in persuading Saul to let him fight Goliath: “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” [1 Samuel 17:37]. David was cleared by Saul to fight the Philistine. He was victorious. As a result, his reputation as a potential leader of Israel grew rapidly after the victory.
Summary of What We Learned
Compassion is important to following God’s schedule: based on David’s early interactions with Saul and others and on Christ teaching through two parables—the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats and the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Through the teachings, Christ explains that God uses call to compassion to direct a person to blessing he has ordained, such as an achievement step toward fulfillment of a promise. He calls the person regarding a need and expects them to recognize the need, care about the needy, commit to providing, and persevere in seeking to alleviate the need. The recipient earns the blessing by completing the call to compassion or incurs punishment by declining.
Illustrations from David show he completed three calls to compassion early in his interactions with Saul and each completion led him to accomplish a goal and key step toward becoming king of Israel.
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