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Friday, May 20, 2011

Focusing Our Thoughts

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 NIV

Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi has been exceptionally meaningful to me for a number of years, but recently I have been encouraged by the application of its teaching in worship and in my life in general. I would encourage a thorough study of the book and its context [Paul’s thank you letter for a gift while in prison] in order to grasp more fully what’s in the text. Looking at a verse in this way is similar to picking up a grain of sand and then looking at the beach, there’s just no way to comprehend it all. Given the limitations, I would like to touch briefly on how applying these verses might enhance our walk with Christ. [Again, this is not to be taken as a commentary, there are many excellent ones on Scripture available; this focus is more on how do we apply what we understand about the text.]

Paul often closes his letters with specific actions he asks the readers to do, given the previous understandings he has shared. He would open with a greeting, share theological truth in the first half of his letter and then in the latter part shift to application. Although there is an abundance of theological insight in Philippians, especially in chapter 2, the tone of the letter centers more on his sharing his love and appreciation for the brothers and sisters in Christ there and giving them some instruction, than on the presentation of a theological treatise. My desire is not to remove Paul’s teaching from its context, but to look briefly at a very small slice of his instruction to those whom he regarded so much at Philippi.

When Paul begins with “finally,” he is obviously beginning concluding statements. He is not saying that these are the most or least important, he is simply wrapping up his thoughts. However, what is shared here has the potential to radically change how we approach worship and even radically change our lives. Paul is calling on a change in the way that we think that requires divine intervention, for only the Spirit of God can renew our minds as God desires. Consider what Paul wrote in Romans 12:1-2:

“ Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

The way to not “conform ourselves to the pattern of this world,” was the renewing of our minds. Our human nature is naturally “bent” not toward obedience of God, but toward our own selfish ends; our reasoning can become defective and not reliable. Only as we allow God to renew our minds can we reverse the process. How is this done? I believe that the process begins with what Paul shares in Philippians 4:8, where he doesn’t simply tell us what not to think, but what to think. Paul is consistent in his instruction to provide a godly replacement for the behavior or action that is not consistent with biblical truth, the “put off,” and “put on” that is found in many of his writings. We all have patterns in the way we think, and Paul gives us clear instruction in how to retrain the brain, so to speak, to replace that pattern, when it does not conform with biblical truth.

So what are we to do? There are two basic ideas in the passage: a change in thinking and a change in action. In changing the way we think, we will change the actions performed. That is why Paul begins there first. To accomplish the pattern of thinking, he lists six qualities, all reflected in the nature and character of Christ, on which he commands we focus our thoughts:
whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable
– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
—think about such things

These are all true about Christ, but Paul seems to open the thoughts beyond just Christ and His nature and character with the word, “whatever,” and in that sense whatever that is in line with the nature and character of God. One way to aid in changing our thoughts to “whatever is true,” is to ask ourselves, “What is true about this situation, or What is true about God in this situation?” When we find ourselves is a discouraging or circumstances, we need to focus on what is true about God in this situation. Well, we know that God is God, He is in control, that He is love, He is good, that His nature and character are unchanging, that He promises to be with us, He promises to provide as we depend on Him, and the list can go on and on. Focusing on “whatever is true” in this situation takes our focus off the circumstances and places it on the true reality of the situation and helps us trust in God. We may have to write them out at first, just to be able to focus on them, but I believe doing this alone would cause a radical shift in how we approach our problems. As you continue with the others, “Whatever is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable,” even extending the list to “anything excellent or praiseworthy,” then Paul’s guidance is to “think about such things.”

In my own life and circumstances this process has been helpful. When devastating things happen, we are taken off guard, we go numb in disbelief, hurt and anger, yet it is in time like these that God’s Word is especially vital to what God wants to do in and through our lives. In addition to mediating on God’s nature and character, it has been helpful to me to think about other things that are true: that our worth and value come not from what we can do, but from what Christ has done in us. We could never “do” enough to earn God’s favor, that is the nature of grace. Another thing that has been helpful has been remembering God’s faithfulness in the past. When faced with Goliath, David remembered how God had delivered him from the lion and the bear. As we are faced with our own “Goliaths,” how much more should we recount the lion and bear stories of God’s provision and protection. For us, the memories of living in a war-torn country early in our missionary career and later through an invasion in another country, are not just pictures in a family album, but vivid memories of our crying out to God in the midst of perilous circumstances and seeing God’s hand of protection. In recent days I have found myself rehearsing the nature and character of God, His goodness, His love, His worth, His provision and protection in the past, to help me refocus and apply what the Lord was teaching through Paul.

There is also another issue to be addressed in verse 9, Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. The emphasis here seems to be one of following the example of the mentor. Not only are we to change how we think, but work out these thoughts in concrete action. As we are obedient in these actions, there is the assurance of the presence of God, who is the “God of peace,” will be with us. The assurance of the presence of God in the midst of difficulties brings about trust in His nature and character and peace in us. It is not enough to sit idly and think without applying what we have learned into obedience to God’s commands. Notice that Paul doesn’t say, “do this and you will feel better,” for obedience is not measured in how we feel, but that on the basis of the Word of God, as we obey, we can be fully assured that the presence of God, Himself, will be with us.

It is necessary to insert here verses 6-7 to see how God transforms our emotions related to difficult situations: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Paul preceded the verses with which we began by laying the groundwork for response to difficult circumstances: prayer with thanksgiving. As we are obedient in this, the “peace of God” guards our hearts and our minds. Verses 8 and 9 can be the fleshing out of how to give thanks when everything about you cries out to the contrary. By an act of the will we begin to focus on what is true, what is right, what is pure, what is lovely, and so on and by the mercy and grace of God, He begins to transform our minds to conform to His will and way. He produces peace in our hearts and we begin to reflect more of His nature and character.

Just in case you might be wondering, “What does this have to do with worship? Isn’t this a blog on worship?” I’m glad you asked. Let me just make a brief connection. Since worship is our obedient response to God’s nature and character, as we focus our thoughts on God’s goodness and respond in obedience to what He commands, we will begin to worship Him as well.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Radical Worship

What is Radical Worship? Is it just a cheap attempt to piggyback on the title of a best selling book? Perhaps, but joking aside, if we were able to see worship from heaven’s viewpoint, I think we might better understand what worship is and is not. I believe that the difference would so great that is would be “radical.”

Radical worship is worship in which we approach God prepared to meet with Him, forgiven, in right relationship with those around us, without hidden motives, without conditions, completely focused on what God wants and Who God is.

Radical worship is not centered around style of music or service, or even about music itself, but around Jesus Christ and Who He is and what He has done. In Radical worship we begin to see the very glory of God, His power, His majesty, His wonder, His might, His wisdom, His acts and miracles in a new light.

Radical worship
does not demand personal preference. In Radical worship we see ourselves for who we really are, sinful, lost, hopeless, except for the grace and love of God through Jesus Christ. In Radical worship, we trust God as our Provider, Protector, and not on our ability to negociate the best deals. In Radical worship, we learn what contentment is.

Radical worship means that we respond to God without conditions or qualifiers. In Radical worship, God does not give us a list of things He wants us to do and we get to choose what we will do or not do. In Radical worship our response is, “Here am I, send me.” In Radical worship we seek opportunities to share the relationship we have with God, so that they may know Him as well.

Radical worship
means that we give up the power plays for position and prominence. In Radical worship there are no back room meetings to decide and control outcomes, or ways to put the best spin on mistakes made. In Radical worship there is an openness and honesty that reflects the nature and character of God.

In Radical worship the Body of Christ functions as a body with one Head, Christ, in unity and coordination, not competition.

My prayer, my goal, is worship that is radical.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lessons from Solomon for Worship Leaders

1. Solomon chose wisdom over power, fame, and wealth. Although this may sound odd, there are those in worship ministry that fall prey to the “showmanship” of being in the limelight Sunday after Sunday and let the weekly comments of how “great the music was” go to their head [or better said, inflate the ego]. The Amplified Bible translates Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 3:9 this way: “So give Your servant an understanding mind and a hearing heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and bad.”

Let’s focus on the two phrases: “understanding mind” and “hearing heart.” There is a tendency among some to assume that because they can do some things well, they are the authority in virtually everything and generally they readily and openly share their opinion as fact. A wise leader understands his or her own limitations and surrounds himself or herself with those who excel in those areas that are weak. The “understanding mind” is one that truly tries to comprehend the other person, not just one that “knows it all.” It is the ability to identify with those with whom they are working.

The other important phrase mentioned was a “hearing heart.” How frustrating it is to talk to someone who can barely control themselves while another person is talking to them, because they aren’t attempting to listen, they just want to talk; they are more interested in their next response, than listening to what the other person is saying. Those with “hearing hearts” listen for more than just the words that are said, they are attuned to other signals that may be telling a different story, words or expressions that may be masking a hidden heartache. These people have learned to put their own agendas aside long enough to really hear the individual until the individual knows that they have been heard.

Solomon requested these qualities so that he could “discern between good and bad,” that is, so that he could rightly lead the children of Israel justly, in a way that reflected the nature and character of God. The reason we would desire to develop an understanding mind and a hearing heart is so that we would reflect God’s nature as well. In seeking God’s character and nature, we are seeking that which would be for His glory and honor. Such seeking will help develop a ministry that God can use, as Matthew 5:33 says, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well.” Worship leaders would do well to follow Solomon’s lead in seeking to have “understanding minds and hearing hearts,” rather than seek the rush of crowd approval, the push for top billing on the charts, or the next viral video on You Tube. Remember, Solomon’s request pleased God.

2. Whatever you do, do well. Solomon brought in the help and expertise he needed for the building of the Temple. He didn’t assume that he knew everything about everything, even though he was the wisest man of the times. This idea is related to the previous one, but is more specific. Notice the transparency and humility in the in 1Kings 5:6, as Solomon tells King Hiram of Tyre that he will pay for some of the Sidonians to come help, because, “you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.” The man that was the overseer of the work was a man“whose mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was from Tyre and a skilled craftsman in bronze. Huram was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him.” [1 Kings 7:14]

I heard and was reminded many times as I was growing up, “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.” A job well done is its own testimony, it reflects the nature of God, who never does anything poorly or half-heartedly. Offering to God anything less than our best is like offering a defective sacrifice. Laziness will accept almost anything, but that is a far cry from the nature and character of the One who offered His best for us so that we might have a relationship with Him.

3. Have lifetime goals. The goal of building the Temple was not Solomon’s goals, but David’s. Once the Temple was complete, Solomon had no personal goals that kept him tied to the worship of God. His decline as a leader began after the completion of the Temple: he built his own house with was so grand, it took 13 years to build it [the Temple took 7]. He began to marry outside of the covenant. He marries the daughter of Pharaoh as a strategic political and economic move and builds a house for her. He then continues marrying hundreds of other women, who eventually turn his heart away from God. How different things might have been if he had begun a teaching movement to instruct the Israelites about the law of God, rather than devote himself to self-indulgence. It might have been politically correct or economically sound to do what Solomon did, but it was diametrically opposed to the commandment of God no to intermarry with the peoples around them. Following God’s commands are rarely easy, but not following will produce fruit that will not remain. He needed goals for his entire life, not just seven years.

4. He confused the symbol of God’s presence for God, Himself. In looking at Solomon’s prayer during the dedication of the Temple, a case might be made that there was confusion from the beginning between “worshiping the Temple” and the “God of the Temple.” In 1 Kings 8:22-53 records Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the Temple. Included in the prayer is acknowledgment of the fulfilment of God’s promise to David [22-26] as well as the fact that God is much greater than the heavens, so no dwelling could ever really contain God [v. 27]. This was the place where “My name shall be there.” But it seems that the place was becoming synonymous with the Person: “May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.” [v. 29-30, emphasis added] A similar issue arose with the sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, in confusing the Ark of God with the God of the Ark. [1 Samuel 4] The symbol of the presence of God, is simply that, a symbol; God is Spirit. The Ark was holy not because the metal was somehow different, but because God’s presence was there. With the Temple, what started as a place to honor and worship God, seems to have also laid the foundations for becoming an idol in and of itself. In later years, Solomon might have considered the Temple as just “another great thing that I have accomplished,” rather than a place where the focus of where God, Himself might be sought and that God’s great mercy and compassion might be found.

5. Keep worship central to your whole life. The fact that the wisest man that had ever lived to that day would fall prey to sin and end up as he did should tell us that none of us are exempt from failure. Solomon’s wives turned his heart away from worshiping God and this one who had started out so well, ends his reign with the promise of failure at every turn. How? By failing to keep worship of God as the most central part of his life.

Another part of Solomon’s failure was that he multiplied his wealth at the expense of his own people. While this might not have been true in the beginning of his reign, by the end of his reign he only left a legacy of hurt. Early on, he only used foreign workers as labors and fellow Israelites as overseers, but somewhere that began to change. His lust for power, fame, and all that might be associated with that soon had him inscripting his own people for the grueling work. Listen to the commentary of the people when Rehoboam is set to take over after Solomon’s death: “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.” [1 Kings 12:4] Somewhere down the line, Solomon lost his desire to worship God alone, and Jehovah just became one more among other gods. Some time he began to allow the ends to justify the means. Absolute power and unlimited authority without adequate accountability will produce this. Over a period of years his relationship with God grew cold and his heart for worship and the Temple faded. Perhaps it began with him focusing more on the Temple, than the God of the Temple. Regardless, it eventually cost his son the kingdom and left him with but a shell of its former glory.

For worship leaders, the same can happen. Private devotional times can fade with busy schedules, always with the hope that “we’ll start again with things calm down...” – But things only get more hectic. More and more attention is given to the “job” than the relationship with God. More quality time is spent with Praise team members that those of our own family, and one day we wake up to the fact that the marriage is in shambles and leading worship is just another “gig” that we get paid for.

6. Solomon sought the advice of other counselors. Even though he was considered the wisest man of his day, he himself had counselors and encouraged such. When Solomon’s son takes office Scripture relates how he refused the counsel of his father’s advisors [1 Kings 12:1-15]. The principle is also underlined in Proverbs as well: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” [Proverbs 15:22] If it were necessary and prudent for the wisest man living to have and seek counsel, how much more for us today and especially as we seek to facilitate the worship of God!

We don’t have to be Solomon to learn from him. We can study what was good, what God blessed and what God condemned and become obedient followers of God who have “understanding minds and hearing hearts.”

Monday, May 2, 2011

Twelve Lessons for Worship Leaders from the Life of David

1. Have a heart after God’s own heart. What does that mean? Look at the context from which the phrase comes: “But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.” [1 Samuel 13:14] Samuel tells Saul that his lack of obedience cost him the kingship. Having a “heart after God’s own heart” is tied to obedience. Look at how Luke repeats the idea in Acts: “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’”[Acts 13:22] But it was more that just obedience, it was also a heart dedicated to worship God alone: “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” [1 Kings 11:4] Having a “heart after His” means that you delight in the things that God delights in. Your focus is pleasing Him, not to earn His favor, but because He alone is worthy. If we are to be the worship leaders that God desires, then we need to desire to worship God and be wholly obedient to Him.

2. Don’t let any sin get a stronghold in your life. David was a man after God’s own heart, but was not perfect. He allowed lust to dominate his life in that he continued to marry many wives and reflected more the accepted practice of the cultures around him, than devotion to a single relationship. The writer of 2 Samuel relates to this continued practice of David, once he becomes King of the united tribes: “After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him.” [2 Samuel 5:13] What David did in moderation, Solomon did in excess. Sin is like that.

3. Do what you're supposed to do when you're supposed to do it. Simple? Perhaps, but Scripture affirms that “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army." [2 Samuel 11:1] David stayed in Jerusalem, couldn't sleep, went walking on his roof and saw Bathsheba. The rest is tragic history. Not only did he stay in Jerusalem, but he sent others to do what he, himself was supposed to be doing. Worship leaders need to do what they have been called to do, and be where they are supposed to be and not put themselves in situations that could compromise integrity, or raise questions.

4. When you make mistakes, admit guilt, don’t try to make excuses. When Nathan the prophet confronted King David about his sin [2 Samuel 12], he immediately confessed and sought God's forgiveness (Psalm 51). There was an immediate confession. We will all make mistakes; some will have greater consequences than others, but they will occur. A readiness to admit guilt is not a sign of weakness. Pride resists any admission of failure, and Scripture clearly states that "pride comes before a fall." [Proverbs 16:18]

Misplaced understanding of our self worth is another reason that some resist confession of guilt. When self worth is based on our perceived performance, failure to perform adequately destroys the image we see and measure ourselves and we will do almost anything for the self preservation of who we think we are, or believe that others think we are. The truth is that our worth comes from what Jesus Christ has done for us, not from what we might be able to do. That’s part of the beauty of God’s grace.

5. Listen to the counsel of those around you
. An interesting situation arose toward to end of David’s reign as recorded in 2 Samuel 24:2-4:
So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, “Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are.” But Joab replied to the king, “May the LORD your God multiply the troops a hundred times over, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king want to do such a thing?” The king’s word, however, overruled Joab and the army commanders; so they left the presence of the king to enroll the fighting men of Israel.

Here, David’s pride was and self-aggrandizement forced the hand of those who were trying to give him better counsel. Unfortunately, he did not listen and those under him paid the price for his actions. Verse 10 states: “David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the LORD, ‘I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.’” After the killing had begun, David was even more grief stricken: “When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to the LORD, ‘I have sinned; I, the shepherd, have done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Let your hand fall on me and my family.’” [v. 17] Our refusal to seek out and get wise counsel can be costly to us personally, as well as to those for whom we are responsible. Stubborn refusal to seek out wise counsel has been the fall of many worship leaders. Fortunately in David’s case, he did repent, which stopped the slaughter.

6. When everything seems to collapse around you, find your consolation in God.
Once, when David was fleeing from Saul, he stayed in the land of the Philistines with his men and their families. If being away from one’s homeland and the opportunity to worship God as one pleased were not enough, consider the following account in 1 Samuel 30:3-6:
When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.
David had lost his wives and children as well, the others were ready to stone him, but Scripture says that he “ found strength in the LORD his God.” God uses difficult times in the ministry to stretch us and mold us to help develop His character in our lives. This is never an easy or painless process, but one in which we can grow if we focus on what God is doing rather than trying to escape the pain. David calls for the Lord’s direction and everything is recovered.

7. Maintain a sense of fairness and avoid favoritism.
In the previous story an interesting opportunity for division among David’s men arises. After they had begun the search for their families and belongings which the Amalekites had raided, 200 of the 600 men stopped at a gorge and watched the baggage while the rest carried on a hot pursuit. After everything had been recovered, some wanted to just give these that had stayed their wives and children and nothing more. However, David intervenes with a statement that became common policy from that moment on: “The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.” [1 Samuel 30:24] Leadership positions in ministry often afford opportunities that can be ripe for playing favoritism. Avoid it. Run from it. In the long run it will not be blessed and will cause division among the group.

8. Be faithful and consistent.
This is similar to number 3, but more specific: When David is first anointed by Samuel, he is with the sheep. [I Samuel 16:11] When Saul is afflicted with the evil spirit and sends for David to play and sing, he is with the sheep. [I Samuel 19:19] When he fights Goliath, he has been tending the sheep. [I Samuel 17:15, 28] Over and over again though he had been anointed by the prophet of God for a greater task, he never shirks his responsibility. He is faithful and consistent. When a lion or bear would attack the sheep, David didn’t run away, but kept his place killing the attackers. [I Samuel 17:34] The old saying is “when the going gets tough, the tough keep going,” and certainly was true of David. Ministry is tough. People are not perfect and it is easy to let things pile up to the point where you just want to give up and go home. Be faithful. Be consistent. Remember what Paul said in I Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

9. Do all for the glory of God.
The story of David and Goliath is so well known, sometimes we forget some of the maintain points. The truth here is not that little boys can kill big giants; the truth is that God is in control and will not allow His name and honor to be treated lightly. Hear David’s own words:
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” [I Samuel 17:45-47]

10. Live a life of praise
. The “sweet singer of Israel” was known for worship, for his skill in playing his instrument, and for composing almost half of the book of praise, the Psalms. What will your legacy be? For what will you be remembered? We will be then what we do and practice today. A life of obedient worship begins with a day of obedient worship. When we fall, we confess, thank God for His grace and forgiveness and keep going. My father, who is now with the Lord, used to tell me when I was little, “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall down, you just have to get up one more time than you fall.” I have never forgotten it. It’s a good word for worship leaders as well.

11. Learn to be honest and transparent with God and others. The Psalms are an incredible collection of faith and honesty. A deeper relationship with God requires that we get to know Him through in all of life's circumstances. Read through the psalms and develop a more intimate relationship with Him.

12. Don’t ignore problems and hope they’ll just go away. When David’s son, Amnon violated his sister, Tamar, David did nothing: “Now when King David heard of all theses matters, he was very angry.” [2 Samuel 13:21]. He was angry, but didn’t do anything about the situation – no rebuke, no comfort for his daughter, – nothing. Perhaps even a more telling indication is found in 1 Kings 1:6, when Adonijah declared himself king in his father’s place: “His father had never rebuked him by asking, ‘Why do you behave as you do?’” It is possible to freeze when overwhelmed with problems, but it is also possible to respond like the ostrich and just put your head in the sand and hope it all goes away. The results of such behavior can be tragic, as the results in David’s family. Absalom kills his brother, and two of his sons try to take over the throne.

To bypass the most obvious issue here would also be tragic. As worship leaders we must lead our homes and be the example for our children. David failed to set boundaries for his own sex life, and had numerous wives and children. It is no wonder that he failed to set limits in their lives. As my wife and I were discussing this, she reminded me that one expression of love is that desire to get to know deeply the one we love. Scripture states that God knows even the number of hairs on our head, – He loves us. Our response of love to Him in part is shown by our desire to know Him intimately. David had so many wives and children, he most likely did not know them very well. He set no boundaries in their lives, and being the sons and daughters of the king, they grew up with a strong sense of entitlement. Just as we cannot ignore the problems of ministry and trust that they will just go away, neither can we neglect the problems that will arise in our own families and expect good outcomes.

God help us to learn from David and the examples given in Scripture so that we can become conformed to the image of His Son!