Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 2, No. 1 Page 6 January 2000

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Taking Responsibility

By Kevin Rhodes

When Jacob’s sons returned from Egypt with food, Jacob was in no mood to allow Benjamin to return with them in order to buy more grain. But eventually their food supply ran out, so the brothers begged Jacob to allow them to take Benjamin to Egypt, knowing that otherwise they would not be given any food. Finally, Judah stepped forward and said, “I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever” (Genesis 43:9). Years earlier none of the brothers had been willing to take responsibility for what happened to Joseph, but at this time one stepped forward to personally accept responsibility for the life of his youngest brother.

Taking responsibility is one of the major steps toward spiritual maturity. We must be willing to accept responsibility for doing what needs to be done and accept responsibility when things do not go as they should. One of the hardest things to do is to step forward and show a willingness to be active in the work of the church. It is a great responsibility that few ever consider. Taking responsibility is hard because it opens you up to have to take blame, but a willingness to accept both burdens is part of what spiritual maturity is all about (1 Corinthians 15:58).


Are You Sure?

By Kevin Rhodes

Many times we speak of something being a “sure thing.” But while we treat minor things of this world as if they will help us obtain assurance, we often react differently to the things of God. In 2 Samuel 1 the prophet records the account of the Amalekite who came to David claiming to have killed Saul. It is important to recognize both his attitude as he approached David and David’s own attitude as he spoke with this man.

This individual was from a nation that was hostile to Israel, yet he expected to receive a reward for his claim. He had not even actually done what he claimed, but he wanted David to reward him. The unexpected problem that he soon faced must have caught him by surprise. The question that David posed was one of great power: “How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” (2 Samuel 1:14). The motives of this man were surely self-serving, yet they benefited David as well. David, however, was concerned with the attitude toward God that this man had exhibited and called him into question because of his actions. There are so many today who claim to worship and follow Christ while adjusting this worship to suit their own self-serving motives. People throughout the world attempt to justify their actions through “sincerity” or “blissful ignorance.” But there is no excuse for failing to respect God’s authority.

This man went to David feeling that he would be rewarded greatly but was killed because he showed no respect for God’s authority. We should learn from this that feelings are not the measure of our reward. We must know how the Ruler will react before we dash in, doing that which does not please Him. Thus saith the Lord, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). This is a perfect description of those who think they can go to heaven with the same attitude of this foolish Amalekite. God has clearly taught us what he requires. Why do we feel that we can ignore his wishes and still be OK? Paul persecuted the church, yet he did it with a good conscience (Acts 23:1). Do we think that we are somehow special so that our feelings or expectations somehow make up for our disobedience? If we do not recognize that our feelings cannot save us, then we will face the same fate as the Amalekite when David commanded one of his soldiers, “Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died. And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying I have slain the Lord’s anointed” (2 Samuel 1:16). God has extended his grace by sending Christ to this earth to die for our sins (John 3:16). If anyone refuses to live by His commands then surely he will be told, “Thy blood be upon thy head.” We often take a very nonchalant approach to life. Instead, we should seriously question each and every action, word and thought in order to verify that it shows respect for God. Otherwise, how can you be sure of your reward?


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