LESSER KNOWN PERSONALITIES OF THE BIBLE
February 28, 2009- March 1, 2009
I’m beginning a brand new series of talks today called, “Lesser Known Personalities of the Bible.” It’s fascinating how we know about the major personalities: Abraham and Isaac, Jonah, the disciples, Jesus, Paul, Timothy. And we understand these characters. Yet, many times we don’t really see and notice the lesser known personalities of Scripture.
Well in this series of talks, I want to take the lesser known and make them well known. I want to take those who are sort of in the shadows and bring them out into the light. I want to take those who don’t have very much ink and let’s give them a lot of ink, because everybody is mentioned in Scripture for a reason.
Lesser known personalities. You might say, “Well Ed, I feel like I’m lesser known.”
In God’s economy, though, you’re well known. He wants you to play a huge role in his redemptive story. And I’m going to tell you something. I’ll make you a great promise. After we study and lift off the pages of Scripture these lesser known personalities, you will not believe what you’ll learn and you’ll not believe what you can apply in your life. Because I want to basically give you the application, the skinny on the gimme, as we talk about these men and women.
Now, the first person we’re going to talk about, you might be asking, “Who are we going to talk about? Could it be Adoni-bezek, could it be Elisha’s servant, could it be Mephibosheth, could it be…?”
It’s going to be someone that you maybe have heard about a little bit, but you’ve never heard a message on this person. In fact, I went online and only found one sermon, one Bible study on this person. Here’s the first lesser known personality of the Bible. Drum roll, please. Everybody, come on. Doeg, the Edomite.
You might be asking, “Doeg the Edomite? Who is Doeg?”
Well, Doeg. D-O-E-G, drop the ‘e’ you’ve got dog. That’s a good way to remember him, because this guy was a dog. And I have learned something as I have been studying Doeg the Edomite.
One of the reasons we don’t know a lot about him is because his story is too convicting. It gets up in my chili. It gets next to you and your make-up. Close enough, guys, to smell your cologne. I mean this is really, really convicting stuff. Because Doeg the Edomite dealt in something that our culture deals with so much – slander.
Doeg killed with the sword of slander. He had many casualties. They weren’t the last, though, killed by the sword of slander. We like slander. Let’s just face it. I like to slander people, don’t you?
What is slander? Slander is telling the truth, but not the whole truth. It’s telling the truth about someone in order to damage them. It’s giving contents without the context of the situation. That’s what it means when I slander someone or when you slander someone.
But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there are always Doegs out there. There are always people who purpose evil in their heart. There’s always that man or that women, that student, that situation where someone is just waiting to dog you out. That is why we probably don’t know that much about Doeg, because his story is so, so convicting. It steps on our toes in such a profound way.
If you have your Bibles, turn to the book of 1 Samuel. 1 Samuel 21:7.
Now, I see some of you are automatically looking toward the side screens because you’re used to view-a-verse. You say, “Hey, Fellowship Church. You have all these campuses all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area, in Miami and you’re on the bleeding edge of technology. It’s kind of an easy thing to kick back and read the verses while, Ed, you talk. And I don’t have to bring my Bible. I don’t even own a Bible.”
Well, guess what? View-a-verse is gone. It’s gone. I’m going to challenge you to do something radical. This is really freaky. Buy a Bible. I know it’s hard to get your mind around it, but just purchase a Bible. More often than not, I use the New International Version.
“Well, I can’t afford one.”
My wife bought one at a flea market yesterday for one dollar. If you can’t afford one, we’ll give you one. But buy a good Bible. It’s the best money you’ll ever spend. Go to our resource store or go to the mall, go wherever. There is a Bible just for you. And I recommend a New International Version.
Because you see the Cowboys play; or if you’re watching from Miami, you see the Dolphins play. You want to know the players; you want to read the program.
“Ok, how tall they are? How fast they are? Where do they come from?”
Well, the same is true with Scripture. We need to know the Scripture. So those of us who have our Bibles, turn to 1 Samuel 21:7. If you don’t have one, share. Some of you single, man, you might meet the right one. Church is where I met my wife.
1 Samuel 21:7. Now, just hold that just for a second. Hold that page just for a second. In my Bible its page, let’s see, 468 in my Bible. Ha ha! Hold that page.
Here’s the context. You remember King Saul, in the Old Testament? King Saul. I call him psycho Saul. Saul led the nation of Israel. The Bible says that he was tall, head and shoulders above the rest. He probably stood six feet, six inches tall which back in the day was like gargantuan. Very handsome. Long flowing black hair.
Saul had a jealousy problem. David killed Goliath. Saul should have been the one fighting Goliath. He wasn’t. He sent the little Hebrew hillbilly out there to fight this giant. David won the battle. When David returned to Jerusalem, all the women begin to cheer. “Saul has killed his thousands, David his tens of thousands. Saul has slain his thousands, David, his tens of thousands.”
And that cheer, thank you very much, began to echo in the recesses of everyone’s mind, especially in the mind of Saul who was eaten up with envy. And then Scripture says that from that day forward, Saul cast an evil eye on David. He purposed evil in his heart. He was jealous of David.
I’m giving you the Cliff’s notes, here, the Wikipedia; Saul gave David like his daughter in marriage, and put David in charge of this military campaign and that military campaign. David was a poetic genius, a musical genius. He was a military genius. They still study his military strategies today at West Point.
He would play music for Saul. And basically, Saul tried to take a spear and pin David against the wall. He tried to kill David. And David had done all this great stuff for the King. But Saul was eaten up with envy and jealousy.
So here’s what David does. David turns and runs. I mean here’s the most powerful guy around trying to kill you. Well, what do you do? You run! Well David ran. Where did David run to? David ran to Nob.
Nob is a unique town. Say Nob with me. “Nob.” You can see the town of Nob from Jerusalem. He ran to this place where all the priests hung out. When he got to Nob, the Bible says the high priest, I mean, the main man, Ahimelech (don’t let these names mess you up) greeted David.
And David did not want to get Ahimelech and all the other priests involved in all this craziness. So David said, “Hey, I’m on secret business from King Saul. I need some food and I need a weapon.”
And he didn’t want to get them all messed up in this whole scenario. So Ahimelech was like, “Oh David, I mean, you’re the man. Uh, you know I’ve heard about you taking out Goliath and you’ve led on all these military campaigns and you’re a genius musically and poetically. Here’s some shewbread, some bread consecrated for the priests to eat. And here is the only weapon we have at Nob.” And he pulled out the big honkin’ sword of Goliath. The sword that David used to chop the giant’s head off. He gave that sword to David.
So David had a weapon. David had some food. He’s nourished, he’s got a weapon and he left Nob, because Saul, psycho Saul, was in high speed pursuit. As David left Nob, the Scripture kind of tosses this in, this lesser known personality. The Scripture kind of just alludes to this guy.
1 Samuel 21:7. As David’s leaving, here we go. “Now one of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the Lord. He was Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s head shepherd.”
Doeg, I mean, he’s a dog. I mean, who is Doeg? He’s Saul’s head shepherd. David, as you read on, when he saw Doeg, knew that Doeg purposed evil in his heart.
I mean, let’s just talk for a second. Have you ever been around your company, have you ever been around the office, have you ever been walking through a mall, a church or whatever, maybe a family reunion, and you see someone and you go, “Wow! That girl is purposing evil in her heart.” Have you ever felt that. Am I the only one? Or have you ever said, “Oh, that guy is gonna dog me out. That guy is like Doeg the Edomite. He’s purposing evil in his heart.”
David knew it. David’s Cra-zar went off. “This guy is going to try to mess me around.”
Whenever you have any success in life; whenever you’re blessed in anything you can think about, whether it is academically, whether it is in the church world, whether it is in the society page or society; whether you are some entrepreneur, or whether you’re some philanthropist or whatever you do; whenever you are blessed, whenever you have any kind of success, what happens? There’s always going to be those Doegs to dog you out. There’s always going to be those people to slander you, to mess you around, to give the truth but not the whole truth, to give the contents but not really the context.
Illus: My good friend Brian Houston, who pastors Hillsong church in Sidney Australia, and also locations all over the world, told me about something the last time I was in Australia called the TPS. He said, “Ed, it’s the TPS.”
I said, “What’s that?”
He said, “The Tall Poppy Syndrome.” He said that in Australia and New Zealand, picture, he said, a field of poppies. When one poppy grows taller than the others, the other poppies want to chop it down.
We have that problem, don’t we, in today’s world? One poppy grows taller, one poppy is blessed, one poppy receives a windfall, one poppy works harder than the other, and all of us who are the other poppies go, “Let’s just chop her down. Let’s just chop him down!”
Dirty laundry. Innuendos. Telling the truth about someone in order to hurt them. Giving the contents but leaving out the context. It’s vicious. There is nothing like slander.
I’ve grown up in the ministry. My father pastors one of the largest churches in the world. He’s been on television for decades. So I’ve grown up in the aquarium, grown up in the fish-bowl. I can’t remember a time in my life where masses of people didn’t recognize me just because I was his son. Then, being a pastor and doing all of this, I am well acquainted with life in the aquarium.
I’ve discovered something. Slander happens. Slander, what I’m talking about, almost destroyed Fellowship Church in its embryonic stages. What I’m talking about is real. What I’m talking about can tear you up. What I’m talking about is we live in a defamation-nation. We live in a nation that loves to tear people apart.
Think about the top two cyber-sins. The first, of course is the whole lust / porn industry. The second one has got to be slander. All of the blogs and the twittering and all of that stuff. Most of it is all about the innuendo. Most of it is the content without the context. Most of it is the truth, but not the whole truth. And if you’re in any kind of leadership position, please, I beg you, always consider the source when you’re reading something, when you’re hearing something. Because there’s always a story behind the story.
But I don’t know about you, I just love negativity. I mean I do. I want to hear some bad stuff about people, don’t you? Come on. Don’t be lying, this is church. We just love it.
Why do I love it? Why do you love it? Why do you love it? You know why? It’s our sin nature. It’s our depravity. We just love seeing people kind of mess up. We love seeing people stumble. Because it makes us feel better about ourselves. That’s why we like to read and listen to all this celebrity gossip, you know. All the tabloids and stuff make me feel better about myself.
“If they’re experiencing that, oh, I’m not nearly as bad as… Well, you know, I’m feeling pretty good about myself.”
Dirty laundry. Slander. The sword of slander.
Doeg is hanging out at Nob. He sees David. David knew he had the sword of slander. Saul is in high-speed pursuit. So Saul shows up at Nob and here’s what Saul says. Saul goes, “Ahimelech,” the high priest. “What’s the deal with David? I mean, here David is, and he’s getting food from you. He’s getting a weapon from you. Are you like, uh, kind of in cahoots with him? I think, Ahimelech, you and the priests, man, you guys are against me. You’re trying to usurp me.”
That’s totally bogus. I mean, here is Saul. And he has his henchmen around him. He’s talking to the priest. Men of integrity, men of righteousness, and he is whacking them. And Ahimelech is saying, “What? David told me that he was on your business, Saul. David told me it was a secretive thing between you him. I want the best for our kingdom. I’m not against you.”
And here’s what’s so interesting about Saul. Saul had the opportunity to really listen to the advice of Ahimelech and all the other priests. Yet, he listened to Doeg. Because Saul, as he listened to Ahimelech talk, Saul said, “You know what, Ahimelech, we’re going to kill you and all of the priests.”
And don’t you know when Saul’s henchmen heard this conversation, they were texting each other going, “This guy’s lost his mind! Saul has OD’d on crazy pills.”
Don’t you know they were doing that? You know they were. And Saul goes, “Ok, boys! Kill the priests!”
Not one of Saul’s henchmen moved. Saul’s like, “KILL THEM! Take them out! Take them out!” They didn’t do a thing.
But now let’s pick up 1 Samuel 22:9-10. Guess who was hanging around there. They’re always going to be there. They’re going to dog you out and dog me out. “But Doeg, the Edomite, who was standing with Saul’s officials said, ‘I saw the son of Jesse come to Ahimelech, son of Ahitub at Nob. Ahimelech acquired of the Lord for him.” Yeah, I-I’m sure he did. “He also gave him some provisions.” Yeah, he gave him some shewbread, Yeah, that’s right. That’s right, ok. “And the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”
Again, contents without the context. Doeg knew the skinny on the gimme. He knew the deal. He knew the truth, but he left out certain aspects of the story. He put his sinister spin on it. He took out the sword of slander from his sheath and he began to stab and slice and dice. The sword of slander.
Saul’s henchmen, they didn’t kill the priest. They knew the whole thing was a lie. They knew the whole thing was all about slander. Doeg, though, the Scriptures say, killed every priest in Nob. Not only the priests, he killed families, children and infants. The sword of slander.
I can slander you, and you can slander me, by silence. I’m at a party, I’m at a social gathering and somebody says something about you. And I know that’s not true. Content without the context. If I don’t say a word, I have sliced and diced you. I’ve slandered you by silence.
I can also slander you through defiance. I’ll just shake my puny fist in God’s face and I’ll say, “You know what, God? I’m just going to slander this person because this person, I don’t like them. And there’s something just so evil about it, and I like evil.”
Because sin is fun, slander is fun for a while. It is that feeling, that rush. Its like, “Wow! I got him. Wow, I got her. I lied about him, I lied about her. Whoa, look at them suffer. Look at that poppy fall to the ground.”
We like it. We can slander through defiance, just saying “God, I’m going to do what I want to do.”
We can also slander through reliance. We rely on faulty information, like Saul did. We listen to the Doegs and not the priests. We listen to the haters and not the truth-tellers. And so many people here are making decisions based on false information.
Who is speaking into your life? Who are you believing? Who are you reading? Who are you running with? How do you spell relief? How do you spell relational relief? I’m telling you. Slander will dog you out.
God hates slander. He hates it in your life, and he hates it in my life. We read the Old Testament and go, “Whoa man, the Old Testament is full of blood and guts and God’s striking people with lightening and wiping out a whole city; I mean, you mean to tell me, Ed, that the God of the Old Testament is the same God in the New Testament? I mean God just seems to be like this cosmic kill-joy. I don’t understand.”
Well, let me help you. The Old Testament is all about progressive revelation. Say it with me, “Progressive Revelation.” God is revealing himself progressively. The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. You’ll discover this when you buy the brand new Bible. And begin to read it. It’s incredible.
We have to understand that in the Old Testament, there is the civil law. The civil law. As God is revealing himself progressively, the civil law is the fact that God is sovereign. He’s running the show. It’s a theocracy. That’s why in church, there’s no such thing as a democracy. It’s a theocracy. Theos: God ruled. God is in charge. That’s what God was setting up in the Old Testament. So we’ve got a civil law.
We also have a ceremonial law. Read the Old Testament. It is a precursor to what? God sending Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. The whole sacrificial system is foreshadowing, it’s pointing to what Jesus did for us on the cross.
There’s also a moral law. And the moral law is what we can take from these Old Testament figures. We can take from Doeg the Edomite.
Because here’s the bottom line. Doeg slandered. Here’s the bottom line. Slander kills. Here’s the bottom line. All of us know how to use the sword of slander. Some of here are like, “You know what Ed, I’m on the receiving end of slander. I mean I’ve been slandered and it hurts.”
Illus: You know what? In the last two years, Lisa and I have had someone very close to us, slander us repeatedly. And we just discovered the slanderer, just recently. So this is very, very fresh in my life. In fact, I can never remember a time in the 20-year history of Fellowship Church, because God has given me leadership abilities, that have not been slandered. So I understand, man, if you have been on the receiving end of slander. It hurts.
If you come to a point where you go like, “Oh man, it doesn’t hurt me. I’m the man. I’m the woman, that doesn’t affect me.” Who are you trying to kid? It hurts.
Now some here are slanderers. I like to slander, do you? I mean, I’ll just be honest, we’re in church, you know. I like to slander. It’s just fun. You know, when I see someone or kind of purpose evil in my heart, I can cut them down and I kind of feel better about myself, you know? I feel good. It’s just fun to hear that dirty laundry, that innuendo. They feel, they said, have you heard…
So, this message is for those who are slandering. And this message is for those who have been slandered. Because we’re going to see from the life of Doeg, and from what David wrote in the book of Psalms, the secret, the remedy of this slander.
So make sure as we talk about Old Testament figures that you remember what the moral law, what’s the moral stuff, the principles and precepts we can lift off the pages of Scripture and apply to our lives.
Well here it is in a sentence: Slander kills. Slander kills. The sword of slander. And we might not kill people physically, but we live in a nation of defamation. We can kill people all day and night with this little 4 oz slab of mucus membrane: the tongue.
Think about your tongue. I mean the tongue is powerful. The tongue is powerful. We can speak life or death, praise or destruction. God spoke the universe into existence. That’s how powerful the tongue is. So they killed the priests at Nob. Killed by the sword of slander.
Well, here’s what David did. You know what David did? David hears about this. And David begins to write. And if you have your Bibles, turn to the book of Psalms. Psalm 52. David writes in Psalm 52 is about this whole craziness with Doeg the Edomite. Psalm 52:1-9. Check this out. Here’s what David said.
“Why do you boast of evil, you mighty man?” He’s talking about Doeg. “Why do you boast all day long? You are a disgrace in the eyes of God. Your tongue plots destruction. It’s like a sharpened razor.”
That’s the sword of slander. So some of us are slanderers. And others of us here are slanderer’s helpers. “[Ed sings a children’s tune] A helper I will be, a helper I will be – hi-ho the dairy-o, a slanderer-helper I will be.” Here’s how I help slander.
Illus: A couple of years ago we had one of these torrential downpours. And we had like this little stream kind of thing going through our yard, right in the middle of our yard. So, our twins, made these little boats out of notebook paper. And they said, “Dad, come outside! Let’s float the boat.”
So, we put the boat in the stream. And the boat would float for about a foot, then it would get hung up. I’d pick it up, put it back down, and it would float for two feet. Pick it up, pick it up, pick it up. And I thought, “That’s what I do with slander!”
Someone drops slander in the stream of life, just a little bit of notebook paper, I mean, no big deal. And instead of stopping it, I say, “Oh. Well, I mean…” and I move it on down. And then you pick it up and move it on down. Then we say, “Oh wow, this is unbelievable, maybe it is true, I think this is awesome. Look how bad this person has been. And I heard that. And…” Slander.
So, David says, “Why do you boast of evil, you mighty man, Doeg. Why do you boast all day long? You’re a disgrace in the eyes of God. Your tongue caused destruction. It’s like a sharpened razor, you who practice deceit. You love evil rather than good. You love every harmful word. Oh you deceitful tongue. Surely,” verse 5, “God will bring you down to everlasting ruin.” Whew. “He’ll snatch you up, Doeg, and tear you from your tent.” Somebody call somebody. “He’ll uproot you from the land of the living.”
That’s what’s in the cards for the slanderers in the house. Again, these aren’t my words. I mean, you are under the judgment of God when you live a life of slander.
Verse 6. “The righteous will see in fear, they’ll laugh at him saying, ‘Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold, but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others.’”
That’s the TPS, the Tall Poppy Syndrome, isn’t it? I’ll just destroy you. I want you to be as unsuccessful as me, and it makes me feel better about myself to rip you apart and take out the sword of slander and slice and dice you.
But here’s the good news. All that’s kind of, whew, that’s some strong stuff. No wonder Doeg ain’t popular. I mean this is convicting isn’t it. Look at verse 8. David says, “But I’m like an olive tree, flourishing,” In where? “The house of God.”
Whoa, ok, flourishing in the house of God. “I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you’ve done. In your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.”
So David is saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, what is the skinny on the gimme? I mean, what’s the bottom line. How do we remedy this slander stuff?” It’s a God thing.
Also though, it’s a tree thing. We’ve got to plant ourselves in the house of God. Because when we plant ourselves in the house of God, the Bible tells me we’re going to do what? We’re going to flourish. We’re going to produce fruit.
So if you’ve been slandered, what do you need to do? Plant yourself in the house of God. If you’re the slanderer, plant yourself in the house of God. If you’ve been slandered, as you plant yourself in the house of God, others will support you and help you grow deep and comfort you. And give you words of love and words of passion and words of hope. If you’ve are the slanderer, and you plant yourself in the house, when you begin to take out the sword of slander and dog someone out like Doeg did, you’re going to be like, “What am I doing? I’m giving the contents without the context. I’m telling the truth about this person, but not the whole truth. And I’m doing it in order to hurt them.”
Have you ever wondered why so many people are shallow spiritually in today’s world? And it’s an epidemic, all over the world, when I travel. People just, “Ok, I’m going to plant myself in this house for a couple of years. Oh, this house is hot. I like the music and technology. And all this speaking is cool. I’m going to plant myself here. Wow. There’s another hot place over there. I’ll go to another house.”
So we uproot and go there and plant and that lasts for maybe a year or two. And then you go, “Whoa!” maybe you’re single, “the good looking girls are at this other place.” You uproot and you go over there, boy, and you plant yourself there.
No wonder we’re so shallow! No wonder we don’t experience the fruit of the spirit. No wonder we’re not flourishing. We’re not planted in the house.
And most of us uproot ourselves before the breakthrough. We uproot ourselves before we flourish. We’ve got to stand tall.
What’s the oldest living thing? The sequoia tree. The sequoia tree grows straight. The Sequoia tree is always planted in clumps. The sequoia tree has the ability to heal itself. The sequoia tree has a very intricate root system as it intertwines its roots with others.
What a picture of the house of God! Are you planted in the house of God? You want to deal slander a serious blow? Get planted in the house of God.
Illus: This peasant slandered his friend. And then he discovered what he had spread about his friend was untrue. So he went to a monk and he said, “How do I get this right?”
And the monk wisely gave him a bag full of feathers. And he said, “Take a feather out of this bag and put it on every doorstep in the village.”
So the peasant went out and dropped a feather on every doorstep in the village. Then he came back to the monk and he said, “Ok, I’ve done it. I’ve dropped a feather on every doorstep in the village.”
The monk said, “Oh, no. You’re not through. You’re only half-way there.” He said, “Now go back with the empty bag and collect all the feathers.”
The peasant said, “I can’t do that! That’s impossible. I mean I can’t do that, because the winds have blown.”
And the monk said, “So it is with words. They are easily spoken. But once they’re spoken, we can’t get them back.”
What kind of feathers have you been throwing around? Dirty laundry? Innuendo? The truth but not the whole truth? Out of context? What feathers have you been believing? Have you been thinking about the source? You mean you’ve been listening to Doeg the Edomite above the other people of integrity in your life? You mean you’re believing that stuff?
Those are serious questions. I mean that’s some serious stuff. Think about Jesus. They slandered him. And the slander led him to voluntarily being nailed to a Roman cross and dying for our sins. Because the Bible just comes right out and says it. You know, God is showing his hand in the Old Testament. Then he puts all the cards on the table when he sends Jesus. And all the cards will be there when Christ comes back and we live forever with him.
But the Bible says that God loves us. And he’s gone on record to say that. It also said, though, that we’ve sinned. We’ve turned our own way and our sins have sequestered us from God. God could have left us this way, with this cosmic chasm. And we could have ended up in hell.
God, though, sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. And the Bible says if we turn from our sins and turn to Jesus and ask him to infiltrate our lives, then we’re right with God. It’s not about religion. It’s about a relationship.
And I’ve got to ask you. Have you established this relationship with Christ? Because if the truth were known, all of us have slandered the God of the universe. But even in our slander, even in our sin, God’s grace is sufficient. And he sent Jesus to take all of that and rise again. Have you made that choice?
[Ed leads in closing prayer and invitation.]