January 22-23, 2011
Why do we have to wait until someone dies to honor them? Why do we hesitate? Why do we put it off? Why do we wait until they’re in the box to say good things about them, to honor them? Those are pretty good questions, aren’t they? We wait until a funeral, don’t we, to tell somebody what we think about them.
Life is sort of like Monopoly. At the end, everything goes back in the box. In life, all of us will end up in the box. I checked the stats right before I walked out. One out of one dies. Why, though, wait until a funeral? Why wait until you see a casket? Why wait for a eulogy? Why wait for the organ music to bring honor when we could honor someone right where they are?
One could argue, “Ed, they hear you. They hear the nice things said about them at the funeral so, in essence, we are honoring them.”
Yeah, I understand that, but it’s different when they’re there. Because when we bring honor into a situation, God honors us. God also honors the recipient.
I don’t know about you, but many times I think about myself and I think, “Wow, I’m not getting the kind of respect, the kind of honor, the kind of love, the kind of props that I should. I think about that. Sometimes in marriage, sometimes in friendships, sometimes in my career.” Surely you’ve never thought that before, have you? I bet I’m the only one.
Here’s what I’ve learned, though. The Bible says that honor initiates. It doesn’t hesitate. We have chance, you and me, to change the course of life.
Everyone is descending into dishonor. It’s just what we do. We, though, by God’s octane, can ascend into honor. Bring honor back. Don’t wait for a funeral, bring honor back.
Everything goes better with honor. Marriage goes better with honor. Families go better with honor. Careers go better with honor. Friendships go better with honor. Teams go better with honor. Everything goes better with honor. Honor is our ally.
We should be carriers of honor, because we’ve never locked eyes with someone, we’ve never had a conversation with someone, we’ve never been in a situation with someone who is not honored by the God of the universe
Illus: This really hit home in my life several months ago. Uncle Blake died. Uncle Blake was a peculiar person, unique individual, highly complex, highly generous. He gave his life, he really did, for the things of God. We gathered together in that tiny town in South Carolina, sitting around in different restaurants, at the funeral home, during the wake, during the funeral, on the way back to the airport, all we were doing was honoring Uncle Blake. Just talking about funny stories, talking about what he meant to us, and then to hear all of the people discuss his life and to hear their honorable words. It was something to behold.
I took a step back and said to myself, “Man this is so sad that we had to wait for a funeral to say these wonderful things about Uncle Blake. What would he do, I mean if he were here in the flesh absorbing all of this honor? It’d be like sensory overload.”
T.S. Today I want to talk to you a little bit about bring honor back. I want to talk to you, that’s right, to you, about how to bring honor into every situation and every conversation that we’re exposed to. And I’m going to talk to you about it in an interesting way because I’m going to describe to you a person in the Bible who was highly unusual.
This person had a strange set of circumstances in his life. His name is one of the most difficult names to pronounce in the Bible, so bear with me as I try to pronounce this guy’s name. I’m talking about Mephibosheth. Say it with me, Mephibosheth. All the campuses, Downtown, Fort Worth, Plano, Miami, if you’re listening to this on podcast or you’re watching this on television, let’s say it together. Mephibosheth. This guy had a unique life.
Very, very quickly let me give you the Cliff’s Notes®. For you to understand the context of this story, of this account, of honor, you’ve got to really understand the environment of what was happening during this day. And to really understand it, make sure you pick up last weekend’s message.
In last weekend’s message I talked about how do you honor somebody who is dishonorable? How do you honor somebody who is a card-carrying idiot? How do you do that? How do you honor somebody who is not someone you respect? Because if you wait to respect someone to honor someone you’ll never be a carrier of honor. That was last time.
Last time I talked about two kings. I talked about King Saul and King David. Once again, we’re gonna talk about King Saul and King David. King Saul – the king of Israel. God’s anointed and appointed. He had a son named Jonathan. Jonathan was the rightful heir to the throne. God, though, went around Jonathan, anointed David as the future king of Israel. Amazingly, Jonathan and David were best friends. They had this connection, they had a commitment with one another, a covenant on steroids. They loved one another. They were all about honor.
Saul had a problem with dishonor. He dishonored David at every turn. Envious and jealous, trying to kill him, trying to go after him. One day God took his hand off the family of Saul. Isn’t that sad when God takes his hand off of a person’s life? Isn’t it sad? You can see it when God takes his hand off of a family’s life. No more blessing, no more power, no more RPMs. It’s just there.
That’s what took place. Civil war broke out. Saul, King Saul, was killed. His son, Jonathan, was killed. Everything is totally tumultuous.
Now, let’s pick up 2 Samuel 4:4. Jonathan, son of Saul, had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. A five-year-old kid! In the palace, a part of Saul’s family. His father was Jonathan. This kid, Mephibosheth, hears that his dad has been killed. His grandfather has been killed. His nurse picked him up, fled. She was getting out of Jerusalem but as she hurried to leave she fell and he became crippled. His name was, say it with me, Mephibosheth. There was no medical attention. Mephibosheth was dropped, his legs horribly broken, crippled, lame, physically challenged.
Maybe you can identify with this situation. Maybe physically, maybe emotionally, you’ve been dropped. You’re lame. You’re crippled. Things aren’t right.
The Bible says that Mephibosheth was taken to an area called Lo-Debar. In the original language, Lo-Debar means “no pasture.” No pasture.
David takes the throne. Amidst all of this craziness, David takes the throne. While one would think that David, finally sitting on the throne in the Oval Office, one would think that David would go, “OK, now it’s time for me to receive some honor. Somebody honor me. I want to receive the accolades. I want to receive the props. I want to receive the respect I deserve. I’m the giant-killer, the man of the hour, too sweet to be sour, the tower of Hebrew power! Honor me!”
You would think that, after all, you the man! But check out what David did. Check out David’s first item, the first thing he tackled on his agenda as the king of Israel. It was not about the military. It was not about the economy.
In 2 Samuel 9:1, here’s what David asked. “Is there anyone left of Saul’s family? If so, I would like to show him some kindness in honor of Jonathan.”
What was asking the question, “Who can I honor?” I find that fascinating!
David, who had been dishonored by Saul. David, who was taking the reins of an administration that was all about dishonor, jealousy, backbiting, hatred, betrayal. David now steps up and goes, “Who can I honor?” What a question.
Go for the ask. I love the ask. A-S-K – Always seeking knowledge. Every day. Here’s some application, here’s some handles. Every day we should ask that question. Who can I show honor to? Ask God that question, “God, show me who I can honor.” Listen. Because he will whisper names to you. Don’t wait until the funeral. Bring honor into the situation.
David was all surrounded by funerals. Saul’s funeral, Jonathan’s funeral, everybody was dying, civil war. And what did David do? “Who can I honor?”
“David, there’s this crippled boy,” a servant told him, “named Mephibosheth. He’s Jonathan’s son. He’s living in Lo-debar.” David said,
“Go get him.”
Let’s stop for just a second. Think about Mephibosheth’s family. I mean, you talk about a family that has some serious problems. The family was all about dishonor. Saul’s grandson, he had that whole sinetic thing going. God had removed his hand from the family.
The family was also doomed, because back in the day when a new king would take over, what would he do? He would kill anybody that had any relationship with the former king. It was just what they did in the Middle East.
So not only was Mephibosheth scared, not only was he going through depression and remorse because of the death of his father and grandfather, not only was he in a horrific situation he knew at any time, day or night, the knock on the door would come and it would be over for him. He was doomed. His family was doomed. They were dishonored and they were doomed.
Also, they were destitute. He had nothing. He had everything one moment, the next moment, nothing. The place he was living, no pasture. He was living in the house of Machir. The word Machir in the Hebrew means “sold.” Everything was sold. He had nothing. Destitute, in abject poverty.
He was dishonored, his family was. Doomed, his family was. Destitute. But notice this. His family was desired. Desired by the king, man! We’re talking about King David, a man after God’s own heart. Even though they were dishonored and doomed and destitute, David desired them. Wow.
David said, “I’m gonna bring honor back. Everything is about dishonor, I’m gonna bring honor back. I’m not waiting for the casket. I’m gonna bring honor back.”
David seeks Mephibosheth. He calls the servant Ziba over. “Go get him.” The knock on the door came. Mephibosheth, who couldn’t play and run with the other kids. Mephibosheth, who had a self esteem about that big. Mephibosheth, going through loss. Mephibosheth, you know he was asking the question, “God, why me?”
Now the knock on the door comes. He’s probably like, “OK, it’s over. Lights out!” He sees Ziba. Ziba goes, “You’re wanted in the Oval Office now.” Mephibosheth walks into the Oval Office. David seeks him.
Now notice how David speaks to him. Look at 2 Samuel 6:9. This is just totally, totally a God thing. “When Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor.”
To pay him honor. Mephibosheth knew that his life was in David’s hand, and he bows down to pay David some serious respect. Notice David seeks him, now David speaks to him. He calls him by name.
You’ve got to think that he called him by name he saw his best friend in Mephibosheth’s father in his countenance. You know he saw that look in his eye. That expression had to bring back so many memories. David seeks him, he speaks to him. Notice the next thing. He spares him!
I mean David should have killed him! David, you’re a smart guy, I mean, a genius! The athleticism of Lebron James, the musical prowess of Beethoven, the military genius of a Schwarzkopf, take him out! He might come back and take the throne one day! David, have you lost it? David spares him. He spares him! He saves him! And after he spares him he shares with him his inheritance.
“Mephibosheth, I’m giving you your inheritance from your grandfather and your father. I’m adopting you. You’re gonna eat at my table forever. You’re my boy! Mephibosheth, I honor you.” Now Mephibosheth would have been an idiot to refuse that. Of course he accepted it! And you keep reading. Mephibosheth said,
“Hey, what are you doing honoring me? I’m a dead dog!” That’s what he called himself. No self worth, no value, no honor.
What does that say to you and me? It says several things. It says first of all that we should die to ourselves. We should have a funeral, the Bible says, and die to ourselves. And then we should have a funeral in our mind with the people that we’re close to. What should you say about them today while they’re alive on this side of the box? If you think it, and it’s a word of honor, say it! Text it! E-mail it! Bring honor back.
Whenever you feel like you’re not getting the kind of props or respect or whatever that you think you should, give somebody some honor. Because God says if we honor people, God will honor us. We honor God because of who he is, not what he gives us, but he is gonna give us honor when we honor others. God is a God of honor. Those are some handles, man, that we can take home!
But I want you to go deeper with me for a second. Because Mephibosheth’s family compares to the family of mankind. Mephibosheth’s family is an illustration of humanity. We’re dishonored. We had honor in the garden. Man chose to rebel against God, to put himself above God. We’re living in dishonor. We dishonored God. We’re doomed. The Bible says the wages of sin is death. The reason we die is because of sin. Everybody is gonna die. One out of one dies. We’re gonna die. We die because of sin. The payment, the paycheck, the compensation for sin is death. We’re doomed. You’re gonna die, I’m gonna die. We live like we’re not gonna die but we’re gonna die. That’s why we get all freaky and uncomfortable whenever we look at a casket or think about it. It’s gonna happen. We’re doomed to die. If we got what we deserved it would be eternal separation from God. We deserve, I’m telling you what the Bible says, we deserve Hell.
What is Hell? Hell is that forever feeling of utter regret. It’s the opportunity to do anything and everything you’ve always wanted to do, alone. That’s what’s in the cards for you and me – Hell. It’s not popular to talk about. It doesn’t sell books. It doesn’t make people smile and clap and wave their hands. We’re doomed, though.
I’ve got some other bad news. We’re destitute! We can offer God nothing. Mephibosheth, he couldn’t offer David jack! Nothing! We can’t offer God anything.
“Yo, I’m a good guy, I’m a good girl.” Good isn’t good enough.
“I’m religious. I grew up Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran.” You can’t be religious enough. At the end of the day we’re destitute. We offer God nothing. God can’t wink at sin or look at sin. We’re in abject poverty, just like Mephibosheth’s family. So we’re dishonored, we’re doomed, we’re destitute, but here’s the good news. Are you ready for some good news? We’re desired by God.
It’s hard to even wrap our brains around it. We’re desired by God. We dishonored him, we’re doomed, we’re destitute, yet we’re desired by God.
David is a type, a picture, of Jesus. What does Jesus do? He seeks us. The son of man, Jesus, came to seek and to save that which was lost.
He speaks to us. He calls you and me by name. The Bible says he knows the number of hairs on our head, even though that number is diminishing for many listening to my voice. The psalmist says that God has even counted the number of tears that we’ve shed in our lives and he has them in bottles. Isn’t that amazing how much God knows you and knows me? He seeks us. He speaks to us. He tells you and me how much we’re loved, how much we’re honored.
The Gospel, the good news, is all about honor. We were in a state of dishonor. God didn’t hesitate, he participated. He sent Jesus to bring honor back. He seeks us, he speaks to us. He spares us.
What do we deserve? Hell. Eternal separation from God. That’s what we deserve. God spares you and me by sending Jesus to die on a rugged cross for all of our dishonor, for all of our sin. He spares us.
Then, if we bow before him like Mephibosheth did, he shares with us.. shares with us… his inheritance. His blessings, his power, his ability, his agenda, his plan, his purpose for your life and for mine. He says, “Dine at my table. You’ll live forever and forever starts right now.” That’s the deal that’s on the table for you and me. But again, you know, we have to choose it.
Mephibosheth thought he was getting one thing – death, and he got another – life. He thought he was gonna get punished but he got the palace. That’s what’s out there for you and me. And I’ve got to ask you. If you’re here, way in the balcony I’ve got to ask you. If you’re in Downtown Dallas or Downtown Fort Worth, if you’re in Plano, if you’re in Miami right now, maybe you’re listening to this on a podcast, you’re running, you’re at the gym, you’re just in your car. Maybe you’re watching this on television. Maybe you’re sitting at a bar right now, an apartment, a home, whatever! Have you made this decision to bow before Christ and to respond to his honor? There is nothing we can do to merit it. David told Ziba, the servant, go bring Mephibosheth to me. Jesus is commissioning the Holy Spirit and he has commissioned the Holy Spirit to bring you here.
You don’t seek God. I don’t seek God. The Bible says the Holy Spirit draws you and me. The Bible says the Father must draw us, then we make the choice. Have you made that decision? Have you responded to the honor of God? You are honored so much that God sent his only Son to die on the cross for all of your dishonor. And if you make that decision it will be the greatest choice, the greatest step you’ll ever make. And when you make that, then you can be a carrier of charis. The word charis means grace, unmerited honor. You can bring honor back. You can live a life that’s all about another honorable d-mention.
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]