Category: Following God’s Schedule

Incremental Work with God Example from David

David-at-Nob Event Sequence

An event may appear insignificant but could be a key step that triggers a sequence of events toward fulfillment of God’s promise. Irrespective of the apparent significance of the trigger event, how a person responds could determine whether they follow or depart from God’s Schedule. Respond in every event knowing your next step could be ordered to open doors and release your blessing. An example: David’s meeting with priest of Nob Ahimelek appeared insignificant initially but triggered an event sequence that exposed Saul’s disrespect for clergy independence and authority, fulfilled God’s promise of punishment to Eli, and provided David a benefit that endured through almost the remainder of his life. David’s interactions with Ahimelek in the meeting conveyed compassion that likely contributed to his blessing.

Jesus teaching from boat
Jesus teaching from boat TheGlobalGospel.org FreeBibleImages.org

David’s meeting with Ahimelek the priest of Nob is important for its effect on subsequent events, though the meeting itself appears insignificant. The sequence of events triggered by the meeting include Saul’s massacre of the priests of Nob, which exposed his disrespect for clergy independence and authority while fulfilling God’s promise of punishment to Eli and his descendants. Also, the event sequence resulted in a blessing for David: through Abiathar, son of Ahimelek (descendant of Eli), who escaped the massacre and served David for more than forty years as companion and clergy. Abiathar was retired from the priesthood at the conclusion of his service to David.

Massacre of the innocents
Massacre of the innocents
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David had met with Ahimelek at Nob to request short-term food supply and weapon. Ahimelek provided him with leftover consecrated bread and the “…sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah…” [1 Samuel 21:9]. However, a sequence of events triggered by the meeting was more important than the items David received from Ahimelek. Therefore, David-Ahimelek meeting at Nob illustrates an event of little significance that triggered an event sequence (or cascading events) of great consequences. Furthermore, David’s response in the trigger event conveyed compassion that likely contributed to his blessing from the event.

The importance of the meeting derives from two occurrences. First, the interactions were witnessed by Doeg the Edomite, a servant of Saul serving a detention under the priest. Second, David showed concern for Ahimelek’s safety by withholding information regarding his dispute with Saul so Ahimelek could interact with him normally without taking a side in the dispute. He recognized Ahimelek needed protection from potential accusations by Saul regarding the interactions and did what he could to protect him. Although his compassion was not effective in protecting Ahimelek from Saul, David benefited immensely from the interactions, not because of the material items he received but because of subsequent events triggered by the interactions.

To understand the importance of David-Ahimelek meeting, we recall an antecedent event: a prophecy for Eli and his household and descendants, whereby God declared punishment on Eli for honoring his sons more than God “by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel” [1 Samuel 2:29]. God declared to Eli as follows: “The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your priestly house, so that no one in it will reach old age” [1 Samuel 2:31]. Further in Verse 33, he added: “Every one of you that I do not cut off from serving at my altar I will spare only to destroy your sight and sap your strength, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.”

We discuss the event sequence triggered by David-Ahimelek meeting, focusing on Saul’s disrespect for the independence and authority of the clergy, how Saul’s massacre of the priests of Nob fulfilled God’s promise of punishment to Eli, and David’s benefit from the massacre that endured with him through almost the remainder of his life. The study adds to understanding that an event may appear insignificant but could be important as the trigger for an event sequence that leads to fulfillment of God’s promise.

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Working with God in Increments

Work and Miracle Accomplish Goal

God’s schedule often consists of a sequence of tasks, revealed incrementally but not in advance. Completion of a task opens opportunities and conditions for the next task, irrespective of perceived success or failure. God provides input to accomplish a task but expects human effort to combine with his input. We discuss Christ teaching in interactions with a man born blind to understand Following God’s Schedule by working with him incrementally. Also, we discuss Peter’s escape from Herod to illustrate working diligently toward receiving and utilizing God’s intervention.

Teaching human relationship with God regarding work
Teaching human relationship with God regarding work TheGlobalGospel.org FreeBibleImages.org

In continuing with our study series on Following God’s Schedule, we note that God often will provide his schedule as a sequence of tasks, revealed in increments but not in advance. As we discuss in a previous study under Human Relationship with God Regarding Work, completion of a task opens opportunities and conditions for the next task. Irrespective of perceived success or failure, the outcome of a task always leads to opportunities for a new task. Recognize and commit to the new task to advance in following God’s schedule. We discuss Christ teaching in interactions with a man born blind to illustrate God’s schedule revealed in sequential task increments.

Interactions with man born blind
Interactions with man born blind
TheGlobalGospel.org FreeBibleImages.org

Furthermore, each task includes a direct contribution from God and a contribution to be accomplished by human effort. God’s contribution could be closely tied with, and at times indistinguishable from, human effort and could occur before, during, or after the human contribution. We discuss Peter’s escape from Herod to illustrate God combining divine contributions with human effort to accomplish a goal.

Also, the end of a task at times indicates several options for a new task. Some of the options represent an attempt by the enemy to divert a person from following God’s schedule, whereas the other options provide opportunities to continue on God’s path. David faced a similar situation following his departure from Saul. He needed to protect himself from Saul but at the same time continue to build his reputation as a potential future leader of Israel. He identified his immediate and long-term needs and made choices based on satisfying the needs. We discuss events following David’s departure from Saul to understand his choices and staying on God’s schedule toward becoming king of Israel.

David’s choices during the period illustrate Searching for Next Step in Following God’s Schedule. The current study focuses on Christ teaching through interactions with a man born blind and the example based on Peter’s escape from Herod, to understand God’s schedule as a sequence of tasks to be accomplished incrementally through combined divine intervention and human effort. The next study will focus on understanding David’s choices following his departure from Saul, which illustrate Searching for Next Step to remain on the sequence of tasks representing God’s path or schedule to fulfillment of his promise.

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Resisting Enemy Disruption

Recognize – Assess – Resist

The enemy will like to disrupt any person from Following God’s Schedule by attacking their compassion, diligence, appreciation, or any aspect of human interaction essential to living in God’s purpose. Learn to recognize, assess, and resist the threat. Start with Christ teaching in the Parable of the Sower: that God offers opportunities for every person to grow and flourish in him but the enemy will attempt to disrupt the opportunities in several ways. Then continue with David encountering potential enemy disruption through physical threat to his life. He recognized the threat, tried containment initially, but later implemented an avoidance strategy to resist disruption by protecting himself from Saul.

Teaching Enemy Disruption TheGlobalGospel.org FreeBibleImages.org

The enemy will seek to disrupt a person from Following God’s Schedule at any stage of a mission. As we discuss in a previous study under Nature of Temptation, the devil wants to pull each person away from God’s purpose and will devise schemes to disrupt a person from living to receive fulfillment of God’s promise according to God’s schedule. For example, the devil can attack the compassion or diligence of the intended service provider in a call to compassion or the appreciation of the service recipient.

Recognized need but refused care
Recognized need but refused care
LumoProject.com FreeBibleImages.org

He can attack a person’s compassion to reduce their sensitivity to needs that God places on their path. As we discuss under Compassion—Sensitivity to Needs, God uses call to compassion to direct a person to blessing he has ordained and expects the person to recognize the need, care about the needy, commit to providing, and persevere in seeking to alleviate the need. The devil can attack a person’s compassion by interfering with or manipulating one or more aspects of their capability to recognize, care, commit, and persevere.

Similarly, the devil can attack a person’s diligence. As we discuss in a previous study under Diligence in Human Service—Stimulates Appreciation, a person called to provide service to alleviate a need will be successful if he/she is diligent: i.e., understands the need and needy, is driven by care (i.e., hunger and thirst for righteousness) to commit to providing for the need, and perseveres in seeking to alleviate the need. Therefore, the devil can seek to disrupt by interfering with or manipulating one or more aspects of the person’s capability to recognize, care, commit, and persevere.

Your faith has healed you
Your faith has healed you
Sweet Publishing freebibleimages.org

Also, the devil can seek to disrupt by attacking a person’s appreciation. As we discuss previously under Season for Giving, Receiving, and Appreciation, God expects the recipient of human service to appreciate the service, appreciate the provider, and appreciate God for placing the provider in position to alleviate the need. Appreciation is important because it motivates the service recipient to “hunger and thirst” to do likewise for the benefit of others. Thus, the service recipient in a call to compassion is a nurturing heart where benefits of the service grow and multiply. The benefits grow if the recipient understands and appreciates the service. In contrast, the benefit dies if the recipient simply takes the service but does not understand or appreciate that something has been done to alleviate his/her need. The benefit of human service dies in a taker, i.e., a person that receives service without appreciation. Therefore, an attack targeted at a person’s appreciation could be an effective way to disrupt a person from living to receive fulfillment of God’s promise.

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Diligence in Human Service—Stimulates Appreciation

Extending Benefits of Human Service

Diligence breeds success in human service, stimulates recipient’s appreciation, and motivates them to “hunger and taste” to do likewise toward others. Thus, diligence extends the benefits of human service through a long chain among God’s provider-receiver network: whereby every person could be his provider of service to others and receiver of service provided by others. Christ taught diligence through his disciples in feeding thousands in the wilderness. Several generations earlier, David’s diligence manifested in interactions with Saul and as officer and commander in Israel’s army. Diligence brought him success, admiration, and growing reputation as potential future leader of Israel.

Teaching and feeding thousands LumoProject.com FreeBibleImages.org

Diligence in human service contributes to Following God’s Schedule because it determines a person’s success in completing a call to compassion. As we discuss previously under Compassion—Sensitivity to Needs, God directs a person to a need and expects them to recognize the need, care about the needy, commit to providing, and persevere in seeking to alleviate the need. A person called to provide service to alleviate a need will be successful if he/she understands the need and needy, is driven by care (i.e., hunger and thirst for righteousness) to commit to providing for the need, and perseveres in seeking to alleviate the need. That is, if the person is diligent.

Disciples distribute food
LumoProject.com FreeBibleImages.org

Diligence means understanding what needs to be done and mobilizing resources to complete and deliver service to alleviate the need. Mobilizing resources could include consultation with others, identification of tasks, forming teams as needed, and assigning leadership to accomplish the tasks. For simpler tasks, mobilizing resources would simply mean getting up to do what is needed. For example, the Samaritan mobilized resources initially by providing first aid directly and transporting the needy to the next point of help. There he continued the mobilization by speaking to the inn keeper and promising additional assistance. Diligence manifests in recognizing the details and persevering through to accomplish the objective of delivering service to alleviate the need.

Successful delivery of service to alleviate a need calls for appreciation from the recipient. As we discuss previously under Season for Giving, Receiving, and Appreciation, God expects the recipient of human service to appreciate the service, appreciate the provider, and appreciate God for placing the provider in position to alleviate the need.

Boy offers fish and bread
LumoProject.com FreeBibleImages.org

EXTENDING BENEFITS OF HUMAN SERVICE Appreciation is important because it motivates the recipient of human service to “hunger and thirst” to do likewise for the benefit of others. Thus, an act of goodness whereby a person provides service to alleviate another person’s need could benefit several more people because the recipient’s appreciation motivates him/her to be good to others that are, in turn, motivated to be good to yet others. Thus, appreciation unlocks the long-term benefit of human service that lies in the potential to motivate an expanding community of people to “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” Therefore, diligence is important because of stimulating appreciation that could result in extending the benefits of human service through a long chain among God’s provider-receiver network.

We discuss Christ’s feeding of thousands in the wilderness to highlight diligence of the disciples laying the foundation for the miracle. Also, we discuss David’s diligence several generations earlier, which manifested in interactions with Saul and in David’s role as officer and commander in Israel’s army. Because of his diligence in human service, David was successful in everything he did and was highly admired among contemporaries. As a result, his reputation grew rapidly as potential future leader of Israel.

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Compassion—Sensitivity to Needs

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.

Teaching love through compassion [Luke 10:25–37]
LumoProject.com FreeBibleImages.org
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.

Victory parade from killing Goliath
Victory parade from killing Goliath
Sweet Publishing FreeBibleImages.org

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.

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Prayer of Joseph from the Dungeon Part 2 of 2

When and How He Chooses

Joseph’s prayer leads to understanding the basis for faith and expectations when circumstances suggest a prayer may have gone “the wrong way.” He prayed for release from jail but the prayer appeared unanswered for two years. Thereafter, he was taken from jail and appointed to a high position in Egypt. If he believed that an appeal to Pharaoh was God’s answer to his prayer, then he likely was disappointed because the appeal did not bring him relief. However, if he understood God may have a plan for him that differed from his expectation, then he likely waited with faith for God’s time. Release from jail at the time he prayed would likely have led to great uncertainties for Joseph. However, more than two years after his prayer, he was released into a condition that gave him great control over future events. Joseph’s experience illustrates that God may grant a prayer with a promise to be fulfilled WHEN and HOW he chooses, to fit his overall plan for the recipient.

Jesus teaching from a boat
Jesus teaching from a boat
TheGlobalGospel.org FreeBibleImages.org

In the first installment of this two-part study on Joseph’s prayer (see Prayer of Joseph from the Dungeon Part 1 of 2), we observed that Joseph probably believed his encounter with Pharaoh’s cupbearer was God’s answer to his prayer.

Prayer of Joseph from dungeon
Prayer of Joseph from dungeon
FreeBibleImages.org

Therefore, he used the opportunity to appeal to Pharaoh. However, although the encounter was indeed a key step in the implementation of God’s plan for Joseph, his expectation regarding the opportunity was different from God’s plan. Joseph prayed to be released from jail and expected his appeal to Pharaoh would result in his release. However, the cupbearer did not deliver the appeal and Joseph remained in jail for the next two years. Thereafter, Pharaoh had dreams that troubled him but could not be interpreted by any of his people [Genesis 41:8]: “In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.” Then, and only then, Pharaoh’s cupbearer remembered Joseph—as an expert dream interpreter—and informed his master [Genesis 41:12–13]: “Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was impaled.”

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Prayer of Joseph from the Dungeon Part 1 of 2

Series on Following God’s Schedule

God may grant a prayer with a promise, set a schedule to fulfill the promise to fit his overall plan, want the recipient to follow the schedule; but may not reveal the promise, schedule, or plan. We begin a study series to follow David’s experience as king in waiting and examine his interactions in the context of Christ’s teaching: with the purpose of understanding how he followed God’s schedule to become king of Israel without knowing the schedule a priori. The study begins with a discussion of Joseph’s prayer from Potiphar’s jail, as an example of prayer that God granted with a promise but did not reveal the promise or schedule for its fulfillment. The study is potentially relevant to every person in understanding God’s expectations of each of us when he grants a prayer with a promise to be fulfilled WHEN and HOW he chooses.

Sermon on the Mount
Come, Learn, and Be Blessed
theglobalgospel.org freebibleimages.org

We begin a bible study series on Following God’s Schedule based on David’s interactions with others during the period between his anointing and confirmation as king of Israel. We examine the interactions in the context of Christ’s teaching several generations later. Recall that David did not become king immediately after his anointing. Instead, he went through a sequence of events that lasted approximately ten years and culminated in the people of Israel formally electing him king. The sequence of events represents God’s Schedule for David to become king of Israel after his anointing. God did not reveal the schedule to any person—not even Prophet Samuel or David himself. That notwithstanding, David followed the schedule, as we can surmise because he did become king. He followed God’s schedule to become king of Israel without knowing the full schedule at any time.

SCHEDULE FOR MISSION As we discuss in a previous study under Human Relationship with God Regarding Work, God often will lead a person to accomplish a mission through a schedule of task increments without revealing the mission or entire schedule. Each task increment leads to an outcome that ushers in the next task. Thus, the person proceeds through God’s schedule in a series of steps that culminate in completing the mission and accomplishing the objectives, without knowing the full schedule at any time. The events in each step can be preparatory (i.e., providing experience needed for the next events), precursory (i.e., a necessary event that leads to the next), or both preparatory and precursory. The person’s choices in each event determine whether he/she follows or departs from God’s schedule. As we discuss in previous studies, a departure from God’s schedule need not be permanent because he often provides opportunity for redirection (see Opportunity for Voluntary Redirection and Divine Intervention by Coercive Redirection). David took advantage of redirection when needed and, thus, followed God’s schedule to become king of Israel.

SCHEDULE FOR PROMISE David’s experience in following God’s schedule is potentially applicable to every person, because God at times grants a prayer with promise, sets a schedule for fulfillment of the promise, wants the recipient to follow the schedule, but may not reveal the promise or the schedule to the recipient. He grants every prayer of a person that believes in him. He may grant some prayers instantaneously and exactly as prayed whereas he grants other prayers with a promise to be fulfilled at a different time as he chooses.

Continue reading “Prayer of Joseph from the Dungeon Part 1 of 2”