Because of the Lord
January 15-16, 2011
Bring honor back. Hey, balcony people. Bring honor back! There you go. We’re talking about honor. I want to welcome all of our campuses. Through the miracle of technology we’re being seen in all sorts of environments. We’re being seen down in Downtown Dallas. We’re being seen in Fort Worth, Plano, Miami. We’re seen in all sorts of places. Anyway, we’re talking about bringing honor back.
Question. Let me go Dwight Schrute on you for a second. Question: How do you honor someone who is dishonorable? How do you honor someone who is a card-carrying jerk? How do you honor somebody who is not easy to value?
It’s pretty simple for us to honor people who are honorable. It’s easy to honor somebody who’s on a roll, who’s doing well, someone you respect. Man, I have no problem bringing honor back there. But, when you ask me to honor somebody that’s dishonorable, wow! That’s a tall order for someone like you or me.
I’m excited, though, about bringing honor back. Honor can be our ally. Honor is our friend. Things go better with honor. Marriages go better with honor. Families go better with honor. Companies go better with honor. Schools go better with honor. Government goes better with honor. Everything goes better with honor.
We, though, are carriers of honor. We have an opportunity to bring honor back. To bring it back in every situation we’re exposed to. Are you a carrier of honor and are you bringing honor back? Are you tacking into the wind? Are you swimming against the current? Are you going against the grain? Bring honor back.
Today I want to ask this question: how do you honor someone who is dishonorable? I want to ask you that question and make you think about it and process it, because so often God puts us around irregular people. So often God puts us around people who aren’t very honorable. He challenges us, though, to honor them.
If you’re waiting to respect somebody to honor somebody, you’ll never discover the benefits of honor. If you feel like your life is in disarray or disorder, and you feel like you’re hydroplaning through life, you have an order problem, ultimately you have an honor problem.
Honor is about order. Order is about honor. Honor is the Feng Shui of faith. When we get our honor right, our order is right, and then the outcome is right. When our honor is wrong, when it’s not really pure, when it’s not where it should be, ultimately it leads to disorder, chaos, and we’re going to find out today, now and then, destruction.
I’m going to talk to you about a couple of people in the Bible. I want to talk to you about their lives. I want to talk to you about how one moved from the top to the bottom. How one descended into dishonor. How the other moved from the bottom to the top, how the other ascended into honor.
When I honor something, what do I do? I place value on it. I treat it as uncommon. When I dishonor something, there is overt dishonor, which is disrespect. It’s flipping somebody off, it’s getting up in their grill. There is also covert dishonor. Dishonor on the down-low. Treating people as common, like yesterday’s trash. Treating relationships as disposable. That’s covert dishonor. We’re gonna be about bringing honor back.
This first guy that I’m gonna talk about, you might have heard of him before if you’re a student of the Bible. If not, cool. I will tell you all you need to know about this guy and you can study more and more of the details of his life. I’m talking about King Saul.
Saul was king of Israel. He was appointed and anointed. Saul was tall, 6’6” tall. Most scholars believe he had long-flowing black hair, handsome, articulate. He had a lot of stuff about him. Saul, though, slowly descended into dishonor. You can see the dings of dishonor in his life.
If you have your Bibles you might want to open them to 1 Samuel 13. Saul does something that is really sad. He misplaces his honor. His son, Jonathan, defeated the Philistines. A crazy victory. Instead of showing Jonathan the honor, instead of showing his son the love, Saul got his trumpet blower to blow the trumpet and to announce to everyone that Saul had won the game. That Saul had secured the victory, that Saul was the man. Saul was all about the play of the day. It was all about Saul, not his son Jonathan.
Ego. Pride. Taking credit for someone else’s idea. Having the inability to give honor where honor is due. Honor, isn’t this true? Honor is easy to receive. It’s difficult to give, especially when someone close to you wins a victory; especially when someone close to you is blessed; especially when someone close to you does something great. It’s so tough, isn’t it, to honor that person?
Yet, Saul honored Saul. Self-absorption. Narcissistic. Everything revolving around Saul. A little ding of dishonor, no big deal. Yet the Bible talks about it.
Michmash is something that happened right after this situation. Saul was at Michmash. Have you ever felt like your brain was Michmash? Saul was waiting to take on the Philistines. As king he had to do one thing. Saul had to wait for the man of God to sacrifice before Saul took his troops into battle. That was very important. Everyone knew it. Saul knew it. God had talked about it. The man of God had talked about it. Saul could not sacrifice himself, the man of God, the spokesman of God had to do it.
Saul is standing there waiting for the man of God to show up. The resources began to slip away. Some of his people began to dishonor him.
Have you ever been in a situation like that? You’re in a situation where you’re the leader. You’re the man, you’re the woman. You’re standing there and you feel the resources are slipping away. You feel people are kind of turning on you. You see the tide going the opposite direction and you’re like, “What do I do? Do I still hang in there and honor God?”
You know what Saul did? Saul waited and then he dishonored God, dishonored the man of God. He did the sacrificial thing himself. While the fires were still smoldering take a wild stab at who showed up. The man of God. The prophet of God.
And the prophet of God, check out what he says in 1 Samuel 13:11. “What have you done?” asked Samuel. In the Hebrew that’s, “What are you smoking?” Samuel is the man of God.
Saul replied, “When I saw (say, ‘I saw.’) that the men were scattering and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, I thought (say, ‘I thought.’) now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal and I have not sought the Lord’s favor. So I felt (say, ‘I felt.’) compelled to offer the burnt offering.”
I saw. I thought. I felt. Three steps that we all take when we descend into dishonor. You have an honor problem, you’ve got an order problem. Saul put himself, his perspective, his thoughts, his emotions, over that of God and over the man of God. Narcissistic. Me-istic. I, I, I. Me, me, me. My, my, my.
You might be going, “Ed, why did Saul do this?” Because I’m a why guy. The answer: Because. Because. That’s why he did it. Because.
In our depravity, we think about ourselves very quickly when our resources begin to slip. We think about things from our perspective. We think about just our thoughts, not God’s, and our feelings.
You know, the Bible does not talk a lot about feelings. It doesn’t. Yet, our culture OD’s on feelings. How do you feel? How does that make you feel? Do you feel this way? I don’t feel it.
The Bible doesn’t talk about feelings. “Well I just feel it!” Well, that could have been the pizza you ate last night. “I just feel it!” That could have been the romantic comedy you watched last week. Feelings.
The Bible does talk about obedience and as you keep reading in 1 Samuel 13, Saul did not obey God. He did not follow God’s directives. That’s what the Scriptures say is the secret to living the life. The secret of honor. We obey. When we obey, when we commit, the feelings will follow. However, we don’t feel our way into obedience or feel our way into commitment. We don’t.
Saul, all about dishonor. Saul, just thinking about himself. Saul, elevating himself above God. I saw. I thought. I felt.
There was another battle, the Amalekites. This thing gets crazy! Saul is fighting these people who are worse than termites. They were really, really bad. These people were evil. They committed atrocities that I would not even mention from this stage. God said, “Wipe them out. Wipe them totally and completely out. Wipe them out!” Saul didn’t wipe them out. He almost wiped them out, but he didn’t quite wipe them out. Partial obedience is disobedience. Partial honor is dishonor.
How many of you are married here? Lift your hands. What if you said, “Honey, I am about 95% faithful to you.” That ain’t gonna work. God says do it, we do it! Why? Because. Because. Because.
The Amalekites, man, Saul failed again, fumbled again. And the man of God said, “Saul, brother, you messed up again! God said to wipe them all out and you didn’t. You kept some for yourself!” We see those dings of dishonor, don’t we? Pride. Everything revolving around Saul.
We now see Saul slipping into depression. The Bible is full of depression. Read about how many men and women suffered with depression. Depression is real.
There are many causes of depression. I do believe, though, one of the things that can kick us into depression is this me-istic, narcissistic mentality. When everything revolves around me, when everything revolves around how I look, how I feel, my world. When I become Saulistic. When I begin to have to take credit for every idea. When I begin to put my perspective and my thoughts and my feelings above God and above others, when I just kind of compartmentalize my life and do really what I want to do, when I don’t fully obey God, when I’m not fully faithful to him, it’s very, very easy to fall into the abyss of depression.
Saul is down, man. This guy, so gifted, so articulate, descending into dishonor. He was supposed to fight Goliath. Now we’re picking up. Remember the Leviathan? Saul’s supposed to be the guy to do it. He’s 6’6”, he’s the man, he had the weapons, he had the armor. Weapons and armor weren’t just all over the place in the Israelite camp back in the day. In fact, they had to go to the Philistine camp just to get their arms sharpened, because the Philistines had a corner on the iron market. David takes out Goliath, fights the battle Saul should have fought, and then honors Saul. That’s the second person I want to talk about.
Saul descends into dishonor. King Saul. David, who was appointed the new king of Israel, ascends into honor from the bottom to the top. Why did David ascend? Because. I mean, that’s my best answer. Because. David takes out Goliath. He becomes the man of the hour.
The Bible says that Saul looks at David in a dishonorable fashion. Are you ready for that? David has rescued the Israelites. Now Saul, in depression, in dishonor, dishonors David. This teenager, this warrior, this musical genius.
And then Saul has the gall, the gall of Saul, he has the gall of Saul to invite David to his palace to play music for him in his depression. David, the musical genius of a Beethoven. David, the military genius of a Napoleon. David, the athleticism of Lebron James. David, a brilliant leader is playing music for Psycho Saul.
Out of nowhere, the Bible says, Saul picks up his spear and while David is playing music fires it at David. As he eludes the spear, as the shaft is still vibrating, he looks at the spear, he looks at Saul, he looks back at the spear and looks at Saul. He could have taken Saul out like that! Right-handed or left-handed this guy was a Navy Seal on steroids.
But check this out. He couldn’t even think about dishonor. David couldn’t even wrap his brain around disrespecting him. He brought honor back.
What do you do when people throw spears at you? What do you do when they hurl spears at you? What do you do? What do you do? It doesn’t mean you go soft. It doesn’t mean you become a doormat. It doesn’t mean you’re weak. What do you do?
“Well, I’ve gotta respect the person before…”
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! If you wait for that you’ll never honor. We’ve got to bring honor back. We’ve got to swim against the current, tack into the wind, go against the wind. We’ve got to bring honor back. That’s what David did. He brought it back. He could only think about honor. And here David knew he was gonna be the next king. He could have taken the spear out of the wall and thrown it. He didn’t.
Saul gets really crazy. He takes 3,000 of the best soldiers and chases David. He tried to kill him again. David is hiding in the Dead Sea region, specifically in a place called En Gedi. Get ready for En Gedi because we all have our En Gedi.
When someone dishonors you, when someone betrays you, God, I’m telling you, many times will serve them up to you and me on a silver platter. Right there in the cave. What do you do? What do I do? That’s the real test of honor.
So David and some of his guys, a ragtag bunch of warriors, were hiding in this cave. Saul was trying to find them. The Bible keeps it real. Saul’s gotta go to the restroom. He runs into the cave and David and his men are like, “Haha! We got him! Pants on the ground! Pants on the ground! We got him!”
Saul, the Bible says, relieves himself then — Close your eyes. Check this sound effect out. I’ve been doing this since I was in the third grade. Everybody close your eyes. -– He relieves himself, then (sound effect) – open them. That was a toilet flush! Oh don’t be frowning, everybody flushes the toilet!
So he flushes the toilet and Saul gets ready to walk out of the cave and he sees a sign, “Employees Must Wash Hands.” So he’s washing his hand and David sneaks up, chops off part of his robe. Saul is oblivious. Saul rejoins his guys. David lets them kind of move away from the cave. David steps out from the mouth of the cave.
“Hey Saul! This is your boy, David! I could have killed ya but I brought honor back. Here’s a piece of your robe! Thanks for washing your hands!”
Can you believe it? All David’s guys are going, “Kill him! You’ve got him! Pants on the ground! Take him out!” David brought honor back.
No one can betray you; no one can really dishonor you deeply unless there is trust involved. People you trust are those who will pick up the spear and hurl it at you. And many of us have had that. I’m talking about an ex-spouse. I’m talking about someone who has ripped you off. I’m talking about someone who has spread rumors about you, someone who has done some weird stuff to you, maybe has abused you or taken advantage of you. Man, that’s real, isn’t it? Well the Bible is all about the reality. David brought honor back.
Then there’s another situation. Saul and his guys are camping now in a place called Ziph. For you Biblical scholars, Ziph. On the desert floor, they’re all asleep. Saul is lying there in the middle with his spear. The same spear he hurled at David years earlier.
David sneaks up to Saul, again with some of his guys, and everyone is like, “Oh man, David, we’ve got him again! He’s asleep! Does that spear, David, bring back memories? Hey David, take the spear and we’ll just pin him to the floor with the spear. He tried to pin you to the wall and yet you eluded him because of your cat-like quickness. Let’s take him out because you are the next king anyway. Let’s make it quick, let’s make it fast. God has delivered him on this silver platter. Come on, David!”
Here’s David’s response. 1 Samuel 26:9-11. “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and be blameless.” David added, “As the Lord lives the Lord will certainly strike him down. Either his day will come and he will die or he will go into battle and perish.” In other words, David was saying, “I’m just giving him to God.”
That person who has messed you around, that person who has taken advantage of you, that person who has hurled the spear at you, God will take care of them. Give them to God. Honor the position, not the person. But check out David’s response.
“However, because of the Lord.” There’s that word again, because. The word because introduces a direct reason. “David, seriously, why aren’t you killing him, man? Why aren’t you just wasting him right here? Why aren’t you doing it? You can become the next king!” Because. Because of the Lord. Because He is Lord, and I’m not. And friends, if He’s not Lord of everything, then He’s not Lord of anything.
For some reason we have this compartmentalization thing going on in our world today. We come to church and we’re one way. We honor God. Then we go out into the world and we’re another way. When we’re with this group of friends we’re another way, and another way, and another way. If Jesus is Lord of your life, if He’s Lord of your life, he’s gonna be Lord of everything. It’s the order. It’s that God grid.
“Jesus, you’re Lord and I’m gonna bring honor back because of the Lord. I’m gonna bring it back. I’m gonna bring it back in conversations, because of the Lord. I’m gonna honor my parents, because of the Lord. I’m gonna honor my body, because of the Lord. I am gonna honor you, God, with my wealth because of the Lord. The places I go, because of the Lord. And even when I face those people who betrayed me, hurt me, and messed me around, even when I face those Psycho Sauls, I’m gonna bring it back and give them over to you, God. Because you will take care of them.”
What happened to Saul? His life was a tragedy of what might have been. He died at an early age. He never got to see his kids really develop. He never really built the stuff into most of them he should have. He never, ever used his aptitudes and abilities like he could have.
You know, the Bible talks seriously about honor. The Bible says if we dishonor God and dishonor others, we’re playing Russian roulette. We’re facing chaos. And some are even facing destruction because of a lack of honor. Let’s bring honor back, because of the Lord.
Now some of you might be going, “Ed, OK I got it. You just described to me a battle, an epic battle between warriors. Saul, I know he was a warrior, not as good as David. Saul versus David or David versus Saul. I got it, my history lesson.”
But see, it’s more than that. It’s not just Saul versus David or David versus Saul. It’s Saul versus Saul and David versus David. It’s you versus you and me versus me. The battle is over honor. Are you ready to bring honor back? Let’s bring it back. Because of the Lord. Say it with me. Because of the Lord.
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]