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"The Danger of Doing Ministry in Difficult Days"

"The Danger of Doing Ministry in Difficult Days"
2 Samuel 4:1-12

1 When Saul’s son heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost heart, and all Israel was troubled.
2 Now Saul’s son had two men who were captains of troops. The name of one was Baanah and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin. (For Beeroth also was part of Benjamin,
3 because the Beerothites fled to Gittaim and have been sojourners there until this day.)

4 Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son who was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel; and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth.
5 Then the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out and came at about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, who was lying on his bed at noon.

6 And they came there, all the way into the house, as though to get wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped.

7 For when they came into the house, he was lying on his bed in his bedroom; then they struck him and killed him, beheaded him and took his head, and were all night escaping through the plain.

8 And they brought the head of Ishbosheth to David at Hebron, and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul your enemy, who sought your life; and the Lord has avenged my lord the king this day of Saul and his descendants.”
9 But David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from all adversity,

10 when someone told me, saying, ‘Look, Saul is dead,’ thinking to have brought good news, I arrested him and had him executed in Ziklag—the one who thought I would give him a reward for his news.

11 How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous person in his own house on his bed? Therefore, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and remove you from the earth?”

12 So David commanded his young men, and they executed them, cut off their hands and feet, and hanged them by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth and buried it in the tomb of Abner in Hebron.

Introduction:

Its very true family, that we are living in very dark, difficult and dangerous days. Evil is working at an all-time high. Men and women are being defeated left and right by their own personal vices, so called associates, personal habits, and Satanic foes who refuse to sleep, slumber or submit.

Doing ministry in these times can have serious consequences. Therefore, we must be diligent in our assignments. We must be dutiful in our trusts. We must be very attentive to details, situations, circumstances and relationships, so that we don't allow enemies to catch us unaware.

It is imperative that we keep watch on all state of affairs as it relates to who's around us, and who’s doing what and who’s lack of personal discipline may lead them to misbehave and do you harm in the process.

Ishbosheth is dead, and his ministry as king, father, brother, leader and overseer is gone. He was taken out of office by an enemy that was in his ranks and worked for him. [He never saw it coming!]

He becomes a poster child for us of what it looks like to be caught “sleeping” in your assignment, unprotected, unaware, unprepared, and in uncompromising position.

Don't become a ministry statistic, and end your life and your ministry prematurely. Be awake in these difficult days. Be vigilant, vigorous, valiant, and victorious in all things that relate to your calling, commission and charge from God. Wake yourself from slumber before it’s too late.

Background:

The protection of Abner the great warrior is now over! He has been killed, and now the new king of Israel “Ishbosheth” has been left uncovered. The country is afraid, because Saul is gone, Abner is dead, Johnathon is no more and there are no soldiers on the wall for Israel. David is back in Judah and they have made him king, and the war that Saul and David have had is nearly over. David is growing and Saul's army is not.

Fear has swept the northern tribes of Israel, and uncertainty is in the air. The troops are restless, the civilians are concerned, and nobody with any military bearing is around to protect the country.

These are dark, dangerous and difficult days. Ishbosheth the King is in trouble and does not know what to do and is not in control of the situation.

We can learn from him today, and compare notes from our ministry to his, and see what we must not do on this journey in service to our Lord.

I. Ishbosheths Mistake

When Saul’s son heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost heart, and all Israel was troubled.
2 Now Saul’s son had two men who were captains of troops. The name of one was Baanah and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin. (For Beeroth also was part of Benjamin,
3 because the Beerothites fled to Gittaim and have been sojourners there until this day.)

4 Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son who was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel; and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth.

5 Then the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out and came at about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, who was lying on his bed at noon.

Note:

When we arrive at this portion of the text there are three things that arrest me in this passage. Ishbosheth becomes afraid, he doesn’t know who he has working for him, and he forsakes his own family. These mistakes happen as a result of his fear and insecurity. Let me explain….

1. Ishbosheth as King made the mistake of “Loosing heart” in the face of warfare. He became too afraid after hearing of Abner’s bad news!
2. As a result of what he heard, He gave up! He quit, he panicked, he quit living and most of all he got too low as the leader [depressed of heart] and he let the people that he was leading down.
3. His inability to keep his own fears to himself, caused a crisis in the hearts of all of Israel. They saw that the king did not know what to do and that he was not able to lead in difficult days.

Application:

In the ministry of the believer, we must never make the mistake of getting “too low” in our emotions in spiritual warfare!

Emotional lows can mislead you and cause you to quit, resign, walk away, becoming too afraid where you become paralyzed by fear and not able to respond in the difficult moments!

When we panic as leaders of our ministries, we can put others into a crisis all around us and cause trouble to devastate them and mislead them too.

Fear is real, failure is real, difficult times are real, but they are all to be managed by us, and not us by them.

As a father, leader, husband, Pastor, Professor, Son, Brother and Man of God. I must not let ministry problems, crisis, troubles, incidents or bad news derail me, or manage me or keep me from leading.

My emotions, vices, and issues must be managed because too many lives are at stake, and too many people are looking at me and up to me to lead in-spite of what is happening all around us.

Example:
• I cannot fold up and quit like Ishbosheth.
• I don't have the luxury of allowing the Lows of Life to arrest me!
• I can’t give in to the hounds of depression because they will take me out and everyone around me too!
• My ministry bearing must believe that the Lord is with me at all times!
• My faith on display must be enough to get me through
• My trust in the Lord must be more than a head knowledge, it must be demonstrable for all to see!
• My dependence upon Him must sustain me throughout my storms, even if I don't know how he will deliver me!

The second thing I see is that within his army he had people in leadership, who didn't respect him, love him or feel connected to him in any way.
Two men [Rechab and Baanah] were in leadership in his ministry but had no regard for their leader. {They were commanders in his army}
They were Benjamites, by culture not by birth. They were born into another tribe, but accepted by the Benjamites as foreigners and integrated into the family as strangers.
Because of this they had no allegiance to the King, or commitment to his throne.

Ishbosheths mistake here was that he didn't know who was around him. He didn't really know the people that he had in leadership.

He had given Abner complete control, as his war chief. When Abner died, their loyalty to Ishbosheth died.

Application:

In your ministries, please don't make the same mistake that Ishbosheth made. Make sure you know who it is that you are surrounding yourself with in ministry. Everybody that comes around you is not necessarily, loyal to you, your friend or on your side.

• Make sure you know who you are marrying! Make sure you know who you are sending your kids off to school with!
• Make sure you know who you're spending time with!
• Make sure you know who you are hiring on the job!
• Make sure you know who your kids are playing with!
• Make sure you know who you can trust and who you can’t trust!
• Make sure you are from the same tribe… “Christians”

Ishbosheth trusted people who were not true to him and were evil in heart and mind, but yet they had infiltrated the ranks of his ministry!

The third thing I see in this verse is that Ishbosheth failed to prepare or take care of the next generation….
He had a nephew whose name was Mephibosheth. He was his brother Jonathan's son. He had a terrible accident when he was 5 years old, that left him disabled.

He was the only descendant left of Saul's clan. But because of his disability he is left out of the palace.

Ishbosheth doesn't make provision for those in his own family! When calamity comes, all he can think about is himself. He doesn't try to minister to his brother’s children who are in desperate need of a covering!

Application:

• Don't make the mistake in dangerous days of not taking care of family.
• Don’t make the mistake in dangerous days of getting “so low” that you can’t pay attention to the needs of those who are left in your care.
• Don’t make the mistake in dangerous days of only thinking about yourself, that you end up forgetting about others who are in desperate need of salvation.

Ishbosheth, forgot about his own nephew and left him out of the palace in dark and difficult days.

II. Ishbosheths Murder

6 And they came there, all the way into the house, as though to get wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped.

7 For when they came into the house, he was lying on his bed in his bedroom; then they struck him and killed him, beheaded him and took his head, and were all night escaping through the plain.

8 And they brought the head of Ishbosheth to David at Hebron, and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul your enemy, who sought your life; and the Lord has avenged my lord the king this day of Saul and his descendants.”

Note:

When we come to this portion of the text we see that Ishbosheth dies a very violent death, at the hands of some very violent men.

Ishbosheth dies in this text because of several things…

He dies because he was caught “sleeping” in his assignment, unprotected, unaware, unprepared, and in compromising position.

He became a ministry statistic, because he wasn’t awake in these difficult days.
He forgot to be vigilant, vigorous, valiant, and victorious about things that God had trusted him with.

He forgot his calling, commission and charge from God. And when he was derelict in these duties he has to pay for it with his life….

He was the king elect, but let Abner run the kingdom! As a result, when trouble came he couldn't function, lead, give orders, or handle the difficulty of doing ministry in dark days.

Application:

Wake yourself from slumber before it’s too late.
The child of God cannot be asleep in today’s world! We cannot take our eyes off of the dark and difficult days!

According to A.D Wilson and a sermon that he preaches…

“We have been given the privileged to represent Christ as his ambassadors in the Midnight hour of this age. We do this through times of darkness, loneliness, pain, isolation, difficulty, trouble, persecution, mistreatment, confusion and much more.”

• We are living in the midnight hour of global chaos. Never has the world been so evil and corrupt. (Its midnight!)
• We are living through international terrorism against the church of Jesus Christ for the witness of Jesus Christ. (World religions meet to discuss our demise.) (Its midnight!)
• There is Persecution on economic, political, social, and religious fronts against us. (Its midnight!)
• There are rampant evil doctrines springing up against the church of Jesus Christ. (Its midnight!)
• We are facing Murder, envy, jealousy, racism, rage, greed, idolatry, immorality and homosexuality like never before. (Its midnight!)
• We cannot afford to be derelict in our ministries as Parents, children, servants of the Christ and brothers and sisters of the faith to go unattended
• We must stay awake, focused and at the ready to do what the Lord needs done for the sake of the kingdom.

The second thing I notice in this text is how he dies!

He dies violently! He dies in betrayal! He dies by the knife! He dies in his private space! He dies by the hands of those he has employed! He dies up close-intimately …
There is great diabolical care in how he is killed.

His killers were up close and personal. They had access to him, and were not afraid of being in his presence.

Observation:

Can I tell you that anybody and anything that desires to take you out of your role and ministry as a leader is something and somebody that looks like this and operates like this!

They, Him, She or It… will destroy your life violently!
They will masterfully use the act of betrayal!
These kinds of people don't kill you from a far they will always do it up close and in an intimate fashion!

Example:

• Drugs never kill you from a far, it’s always intimate!
• A Lover never kills you from afar, it’s always intimate!
• A family member never kills you from a far it’s always intimate!
• Personal Issues and vices never kill you from afar its always intimate!

When you die by knife, you are always up close to the killer…it’s an intimate act of murder…the killer can look in your eyes while killing you

They, them, he, she or it will destroy you in your own private space! They will most likely be employed by you in some fashion…
• In other words, you will know them, while they are killing you….
• There is great diabolical care in how your ministry dies…
• Your killers will be up close and personal.
• They have access to you, and are not afraid of being in your presence.

Example:

Extra marital affairs, divorce, addictions, greed, lust, envy, jealousy, hatred, racism, selfishness, greed, pride, depression, fear, are all intimate enemies and killers that kill up close, and dwell in your intimate spaces!

You never see them coming, but they always attack when you are sleeping in your ministry and unaware of the ministry times.

Ishbosheth got killed by silent - killers…. they saw him, but he never saw them!
The third thing I see in this passage is that his killers acted as if they were doing business as usual.

• They came to the palace to get wheat…. It was pay day, and their soldiers needed to be compensated. So, they came as an act of business…
• They used their positions and familiar dealings to destroy life…
• Then when they were done, they cut off Ishbosheths head as an act of terrorism, and ruthlessness.
• Only the king’s enemy would cut off his head, and use it as a trophy for others to see…They were sending a message that he was their enemy…
• Even though they were in his army, and supposed to be connected to same tribe of Benjamin! This was betrayal at the highest level.

Application:

• Be awake o’sleeper, because your enemy is going back and forth seeking whom he may devour…and so is your flesh!
• Sin will do this to the “sleeping leader” who is unaware of the dark and difficult days of ministry.
• Sin will destroy you publicly, in a silent manner
• Sin will destroy your image, in a silent manner
• Sin will cancel your dreams and visions, in a silent manner
• Sin will make you an example for all of the world to see, in a violent way and a silent manner
• Sin will cause you to experience great pain and suffering, and do it publicly but in a silent manner
• Sin is the Christian soldier’s enemy…. if we are not vigilant it will take you out!

In your ministries, please don't make the same mistake that Ishbosheth made. Make sure you are aware of your sins and you are managing them and they are not managing you! Be aware that they are not loyal to you, your friend or on your side.

III. Ishbosheths Minister

8 And they brought the head of Ishbosheth to David at Hebron, and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul your enemy, who sought your life; and the Lord has avenged my lord the king this day of Saul and his descendants.”

9 But David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from all adversity,

10 when someone told me, saying, ‘Look, Saul is dead,’ thinking to have brought good news, I arrested him and had him executed in Ziklag—the one who thought I would give him a reward for his news.

11 How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous person in his own house on his bed? Therefore, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and remove you from the earth?”

12 So David commanded his young men, and they executed them, cut off their hands and feet, and hanged them by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth and buried it in the tomb of Abner in Hebron.

Note:

When we arrive at this final portion of scripture we see these Killers attempt to impress David, with their diabolical deed of killing the innocent, in honor of David’s new ministry.

• They thought they were helping David by Killing Ishbosheth.
• They thought they were progressive and doing something new in honor of someone else
• They thought they were entitled to do wrong because they were doing something right
• They thought they were freedom fighters in the name of the Lord, when they were killing by the spirit of the underworld
• They thought they were doing something to end one kingdom and usher in a new kingdom
• They thought they were empowered to lead in an unnatural way
• They thought they could kill and get away with it, and that it would be celebrated by David
• They thought they had the right to take a life, when they never gave life
• They thought that by creeping into the palace and killing a man in his sleep thatches somehow made them noble
• They thought they were mercenaries, when in actuality they were diabolical cowards to kill a man without a weapon, while he was sleeping…
• They thought they had the right to stab, behead, shame, mutilate, dethrone, and execute and innocent man
[That’s how crazy their thoughts and their thinking were!]

Question:

• Have you ever been there?
• Have you ever thought that by doing wrong you were doing good?
• Have you ever been of the mindset that believes you have the right to hurt somebody?
• Have you ever played the role of gangster and just didn't care about who you hurt and why you hurt them?

Observation:

• When we see these men in this text we are looking at the worst of mankind!
• When we see these men, we are looking at the flesh of humanity in its rarest form!

• They have done evil but they want to be praised because of it!
• They have harmed another human but yet they want a trophy!
• They have cheated, abused, lied, and created chaos, but yet they want to be recognized for the deed that destroyed!

This is wickedness at its highest office!

I’m so glad that David portrays a minister of righteousness in this text!

He becomes Ishbosheths strength in a dying hour!

David becomes Ishbosheths minister of retribution against evil men.

David becomes the minister of defense for those who are defenseless!

He says … “ 10 when someone told me, saying, ‘Look, Saul is dead,’ thinking to have brought good news, I arrested him and had him executed in Ziklag—the one who thought I would give him a reward for his news.

11 How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous person in his own house on his bed? Therefore, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and remove you from the earth?”

Observation:

Here’s what I learned about David in this verse…

• David did not entertain, commune with or partner with evil, wicked and sinful men!

• David has integrity in this moment to defend the innocent!

• David becomes a defender of the weak and a champion of the people in the face of evil.

• David embodies the ministry of the Christ against the wickedness of humanity.

• I’m glad today that he took action against these two brothers….

• Because he took action, we must be reminded that where evil prevails and good men do nothing, evil men will continue to “prey” on those that sleep!

• We must remember that as Christians we must not partake in the deeds of evil of men!

• We must not compromise with evil, partner with evil, look the other way for evil, condone, connect or collaborate with evil!

• We must isolate it, expose it, eradicate it, and reject it in any and every form!

• It is murderous and comes from the heart of the evil one.

David in this text becomes a champion of the people by repaying evil with righteousness.

The law of the land required that if you take a life you must give a life…

As a King of righteousness, he was right to not condone evil! “For whosoever a man sows that shall he also reap”

Conclusion

• I’m glad today that evil is not ordained by God., but rather allowed by God for a season…
• I’m glad today that evil is not a part of Gods nature.
• I’m glad today that God doesn't empower men to kill the innocent
• I’m glad today that this picture of David becoming a king of righteousness is written for me
• I’m glad because I need to know that the God of the universe sees evil in the land and unrighteousness, and Vengeance is His…and He will repay says the Lord.

• I’m glad that God takes care of righting our wrongs… and you should be glad too…

• Because if the truth would be told we are just like these two men in the text!

The truth is…

• We have the same blood running through our veins…
• We too are murders and silent killers.
• Our sin is just as grievous and deplorable…

The bible teaches that we are no better than these men…

For we too did the same crime against an Innocent King!

• We too slaughtered a man in his innocence

• We too killed a man to promote our agenda

• We too killed a man to make ourselves look good
• We too killed a man who had authority over us because we wanted another king!

The truth is…

• We killed Jesus out on the cross with our sinful behavior
• We are all murders and accomplices to crime…
• But the good news is that Jesus allowed us to murder him!
• Because our sinful behavior could not be changed until we would receive a new nature!
• By giving up HIS life for our sins, and our old nature, Jesus… “the lamb of God” came to take away the sin of the world.

• As a suffering King, He was also the King of righteousness.

Though he allowed for our sin to take place, He also destroyed the sin that made us misbehave!

He was a victorious King but never a victimized king!
He died with a purpose, for a people in order to change their diabolical behavior.

The truth is…

• Our old nature had to die, that we might live!
• We praise God for Jesus death on the cross
• We praise God for dying in our place
• We praise God for going into the grave and taking the sting out of death
• We praise God the father for raising His only begotten Son back to life early Sunday morning
• And giving him all power of heaven and earth in his hands.

Now we must remember, that the danger of doing ministry in the last days is…
1. We must be careful of our sinful mistakes
2. We must careful to not allow fear to cause us not to act
3. We must careful with associating with the world, and becoming conformed to the world
4. We must be careful to not become unrighteous but rather remain diligent in the things of God, as we represent the king of righteousness.
5. We must be careful to flesh from evil doings, and sinful behaviors and always promote righteousness in the earth

And finally, we must not sleep on our ministries as parents, brothers and sisters and disciples of Jesus Christ. But we must be vigilant, vigorous, valiant, and victorious in all things that relate to our calling, commission and charge from God. Let us wake ourselves from slumber before it’s too late.

Let’s us pray.

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