WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE? – 4

WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE? – 4 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

whose in your family treeWe are in our miniseries through the genealogy of Jesus called “WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE?” So far we have seen the first three “not so illustrious” characters in the lineage of Jesus – Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth. Now we come to the fourth one – Bathsheba. All of us have failed at some point in our lives or we have fallen victim to someone else’s failure. This message will help us realize that no matter what – God’s grace is available to all of us.

Matthew 1:5-7, 15-16 5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. 7 Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa….15 Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. 16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.

Overall Background: Most commentators and preachers who deal with the incident involving Bathsheba focus mostly on David – his sin, repentance, and restoration. What we will see today is the rest of the story from Bathsheba’s angle. By the way, I’m not the first person to attempt this. Many writers, painters, and preachers over the centuries have tried to do that, even Hollywood. Most of it is fanciful imagination, not based on historical evidence. Nothing terribly wrong about that but for our message we will focus only on what is actually written in the Bible about Bathsheba.

Here’s the gist of the message – Sometimes through no fault of your own, you share the consequence of someone else’s sin. Sometimes you have to play a role in someone else’s drama of life. But if you let God step in, He will use even this to bring grace in your life.

Application: This morning there are people here who are in a situation not of their choosing. If you could, you would never get involved in that situation. It is what it is. Either you can spend your whole life in “what if” or you can let God step in. If you do, He will work all things together for good in your life. If you don’t know Him, today is the day.

 4 things we will learn about Bathsheba’s life from the Word of God.

1. HER GODLY LIFE

2 Samuel 11 1 It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. (We can say much about David here – He should have been out there on the battlefield leading his men.)

“An empty mind is a Devil’s workshop.” If you are in a situation where you have a lot of free time on your hands, you are a prime candidate for trouble. Either you are getting into trouble or you are looking to start trouble. As a pastor, when someone comes to me with a complaint about a situation or a person, I evaluate what they are saying based on how busy they are. Leaders at Clearview – “Don’t listen to people who are idle.” They just might be Satan’s tools. But there are also people who are not that busy but they refuse to fall into Satan’s hands. They let God use them and they bring encouragement wherever they go. Which one are you?

David's PalaceBut we will move on because this message is not about David but Bathsheba. 2 “Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house.” Archaeology has shown that David’s palace was taller than any surrounding building. So he could look down at an angle on other rooftops or courtyards. “And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.” Even though David had a good vantage point to see what was happening in the city, for him to see woman bathing clearly and that she was beautiful to behold, she had to be near enough. Meaning – This woman’s house was near to David’s palace. In those days, only people of importance lived near the palace. The further away from the palace, the less important you were. Apparently, the woman came from an important family.

3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam…” Who was Eliam? It sounds like David was supposed to know this person. In 2 Samuel 23 we have a list of David’s mighty men. One of them killed 800 men by himself; another killed 300 men; and yet another had killed a lion inside a snow filled pit. This was an elite fighting force. Listen to verse 34 “…Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite.” Bathsheba’s father was part of David’s elite fighting force.

There’s more – Who was Ahithophel the Gilonite? 2 Samuel 15:12 Then Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor…” Bathsheba’s grandfather was one of David’s advisors. How good of an advisor was he? 2 Samuel 16:23 Now the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one had inquired at the oracle of God. Meaning: When Ahithophel spoke, it was as if God spoke.

Bathsheba was not some riffraff. She came from a good home.

Application: Do you come from a good home with godly parents and grandparents? Thank God for that! But you’re not immune to trouble. As long as you live in this sinful world, trouble will find you. 1 Pet. 4:12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” In fact, it seems that those who grow up in good Christian homes seem to have a lot of trouble. The enemy is after you. Don’t give up. Trust God that He will work all things for good.

Let me also talk to those who did not grow up in good homes and family situation. Don’t look with longing eyes at those who did. You never know what they had to go through. Eliam had to run from Saul and live in caves with David.

2. HER SHAMEFUL LIFE

3 “…And someone said, ‘Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’”

Who was Uriah the Hittite? Remember the list of David’s elite fighting force in 2 Samuel 23, where Eliam, Bathsheba’s father was mentioned, listen to verse 39 “and Uriah the Hittite.” So, father-in-law and son-in-law worked together.

Hattusha MapWho was a Hittite? Up until recently, skeptics scholars doubted the existence of the Hittite people. Some scholars claimed that the Bible had created these mythological people and that there was no archaeological evidence for any people known as the Hittites. Then in the past couple of hundred years, artifacts began showing up about 100 miles east of Ankara – which is the capital of Turkey – with information about a people of the land of Hatti. In 1906, an archaeologist by the name of Hugo Winckler excavated over 10,000 clay tablets of the royal Hittite Library. Once again, the Bible stands true.

But the history of Hittite people is somewhat complex. There were Hittites living in the land when Abraham came to Canaan. In fact, he bought a plot of land to bury Sarah from Ephron the Hittite. Later God promised Joshua in Joshua 1:4 that he would give them “all the land of the Hittites.”

Was Uriah part of the Hittites who lived in the North in Asia Minor or was he part of the Hittites in the South who lived in Canaan? Not sure. One Hattushathing we know for sure. He was a follower of the Living and True God. The name Uriah means – “Yahweh is my Light.” This is not just some Semitic name. It is a testimony of someone who has come to know the Living God.

I’ve heard people say – “Bathsheba probably tricked David into lusting after her and she was just as much to be blamed.” We can have a lot of ideas and imaginations, but if you stick with the facts – from start to finish David was the culprit. Not a single time does it say that Bathsheba tricked David. Instead, 2 Samuel 11:4 “Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house.” It was nothing more than sheer intimidation.

David – the sweet psalmist of Israel; the shepherd king, and a man after God’s own heart. Now, he was just an adulterer.

Application: Have you been disappointed by people you thought you could trust? Give them to the Lord.

3. HER PAINFUL LIFE

5 And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.” 

You know what followed – David brought Uriah back from the battlefield and was all nice to him and tried to send him home to Bathsheba. Uriah did not go home. Then, he tried to get him drunk and again tried to send him home to Bathsheba. Uriah did not go home. Finally, David sent a letter with Uriah to Joab ordering his execution. Sure enough, in an act of treachery, Uriah was killed along with some other men on the frontlines.

When Bathsheba heard about this – she mourned for him. (2 Samuel 11:26)

Again, this message is not on David. But just a word or two – No one is immune to sin. Sometimes people are disappointed when famous Christians fall into sin as if they were above temptations. In fact, that’s when temptations get more intense. Alan Redpath wrote, “The higher the pinnacle of blessing, authority, and publicity he has attained by grace, the deeper and more staggering can be his collapse.” In other words, the taller the tree, the bigger the sound it makes when it hits the ground.

How about David? 2 Samuel 11:27a And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. As far as David was concerned, it was all good. But 2 Samuel 11:27b “But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.”

You know the rest – God sent Nathan to confront David and according to God’s judgment, the child died. For the second time, Bathsheba had to mourn again because it says in 2 Samuel 12:24 “Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife…”

Something else happened – Remember, Bathsheba’s grandfather Ahithophel. When Absalom, David’s son, led a revolt/mutiny against his own father, Ahithophel decided to side with Absalom. 2 Samuel 15:31 Then someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” Any wonder?!! As far as he was concerned, David had destroyed the marriage of his granddaughter and killed her husband. He gave some horrible advice to Absalom that had nothing do with God. It was to go and rape David’s concubines. Then he gave more advice on how to trap David. But 2 Samuel 17:14 For the LORD had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring disaster on Absalom. Absalom refused to listen to Ahithophel. How did Ahithophel take all this? 2 Samuel 17:23  “Now when Ahithophel saw that his advice was not followed, he saddled a donkey, and arose and went home to his house, to his city. Then he put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died…”

Again, I bet Bathsheba more than likely mourned for her grandfather.

How tragic! Sin has a snowball effect. As it rolls down the hill, it just gets bigger and bigger and until it bursts.

Application: Never forget that none of us sins in isolation. Our sins have an impact for generations to come.

4. HER GRACEFILLED LIFE

Is that it? 2 Samuel 12:24 “So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. Now the LORD loved him.”

Application: Maybe you have been a victim of similar pain. God is with you. He is willing to show you His grace. He is willing to work all things together for good. Have you turned everything to Him? Do you know Jesus as your Savior?

FAITH YOU CAN BET ON

FAITH YOU CAN BET ON by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

Faith You can Bet onThis morning we begin a brand new series titled, “WHAT IF GOD LIVED NEXT DOOR?” I’ve never been more excited about a series than this one! This series will cover the entire life of Christ from all four gospels. The first message is on Luke 1:1-4 called, “FAITH YOU CAN BET ON.” Unlike all other religions in the world, Christianity alone is based on rock solid historical evidence. The proof is so overwhelming that, just like poker (Not that I am advocating playing poker), you can move all your chips into the pot. You don’t have to worry about any bluffs and look for any tells. Compared to all other faiths in the world, this is the real deal. Anything other than Christianity is a losing hand.

Luke 1:1-4   1 Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.

Overall Background: In the New Testament there are 4 individual accounts of the life of Jesus – Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Each of them is from a unique perspective. Matthew was a tax collector (a government official), Mark was a young man (imagine someone in their mid-late 20s), Luke was a medical doctor, and John had a fishing business. The Holy Spirit used their different personalities, experiences, and capabilities to give us a different angle on the same Jesus. He guided them and guarded them through the whole process. Listen to what Peter says in 2 Pet. 1, (By the way, tradition tells us that he was Mark’s source for his gospel.) 16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. But then he clarifies in verse 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture (even the gospels are prophecies because prophecy is not just foretelling but also forth telling) is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. So different human beings but one Holy Spirit.

Now Luke does something in his opening lines that the other gospel writers don’t. He tells us the process by which he wrote his gospel. Even though Matthew, Mark, and John don’t tells us their process of research and writing, more than likely, they used a similar process.

Why did I choose to preach on this process of how the gospels were written? There is a myth, false belief, out there that the holy books of all religions came together the same way the Bible did. In other words, the way the Bible was written for the Christians is the way the Quran was written for the Muslims, the Gita for the Hindus, the Lotus Sutra for the Buddhists, and the Norse sagas for the early Scandinavians. It’s just that we happened to be born in a world where the Bible is prominent that we think the Bible alone is the Word of God. To say that is to be a bigot and ignorant.

I know some of you are saying – “Oh, I believe that the Bible alone is the Word of God.” That’s wonderful but your children and your grandchildren are living in a different world. They don’t necessarily think the way you do. Our young people are being told that all sacred books are on the same level.

This morning I am going to give you a glimpse of how the other sacred books where put together and then we will return to how the gospels were put together.

I. HOW OTHER “HOLY BOOKS” CAME TOGETHER?

1. AVESTA – The holy book of the Parsis or the Zoroastrians. It’s a religion that came from ancient Persia (Iran) somewhere around the 6th Avestacentury BC. It’s founder, Zoroaster, lived about the same time as Jeremiah and Daniel in the Old Testament. The Parsis had to flee their homeland because of Muslim persecution and many of them came to India and became very successful. You may have heard the name Zubin Mehta – a famous orchestra conductor. Here’s one I’m sure you have heard – Freddie Mercury from Queen (We are the Champions) was born into a Parsi family.

The Avesta is a collection of writings that came at different times in the history of Zoroastrianism. Some of them are from the early period written by Zoroaster himself. They are hymns or Gathas. Others are prayers and magic rituals. Some of the old writings are in an ancient language called Avestan, which is very hard to understand. In fact, many sentences make no sense. Others were written as late as the ninth century AD known as Pahlavi scriptures and there seems to be a conflict between the later stuff and the stuff that Zoroaster taught. By the way, scholars even estimate that approximately 75% of the Avesta has been lost.

This is the holy book of the Parsis or the Zoroastrians.

2. VEDAS, UPANISHADS, AND GITA – The holy books of the Hindus. Hinduism is a religion that has gone back and forth through various phases. You see monotheism (worship of one god), henotheism (worship of one god even though there are other gods), polytheism (worship of many gods), and animism (everything has a spirit so worship of animals, plants, rocks, rivers, stars, etc.) Bottom line – there is no core set of beliefs but part of being a Hindu means to consider the Vedas as holy books.

VedasLet’s start with the Vedas – There are 4 Vedas – Rigveda (1,028 hymns to gods of early Hinduism), Samaveda, Yajurveda (hymns of rituals and offering formulas), and Atharvaveda (magic formulas). Altogether, they are several times the size of the Bible. No one knows who wrote them. They were composed somewhere between 1500 and 800 BC and passed down orally until the sixteenth century. If you want to go back and check who wrote what for sure, you can’t. There’s nothing there!

There’s more – Brahmanas (instructions for the priests), Sutras (instructions for the people), and Upanishads (supplements to the Vedas). The last one (Upanishads) were written by wise men after 500BC. Again, nothing was written down until the 17th century.

How about the Gita? It is part of large epic called the Mahabharata that tells the story of the struggle between two branches of a family. It contains the conversation between Arjun and Krishna on the need to be totally devoted to Krishna and do his duty as a member of his caste. It was written somewhere between 400-100BC. Again, we don’t have any ancient copies.

These are the holy books of the Hindus (loosely speaking).

3. THE PALI CANON AND THE LOTUS SUTRA – The holy books of the Buddhists. The first one comes from the early stages of Buddhism known as Thervada Buddhism. The Pali Canon is also called Tripitaka or 3 divisions: rules for Buddhist monks, teachings of Lotus SutraBuddha, and some analysis of Buddha’s teachings. Even though it was formulated by Buddha’s disciples after he was gone, it grew through the centuries. The complete form came about 400 years later in the first century BC. So much has been added and taken away that no one knows what was originally there.

The Lotus Sutra comes from the later stage of Buddhism known as the Mahayana Buddhism. It supposedly contains Buddha’s teachings given towards the end of his life. Here’s the problem. It wasn’t put together until the 2nd century AD, that is 700 years after he lived. By the way, there are many contradictions between what the Lotus Sutra says that Buddha said and what the Pali Canon says.

These are the holy books of the Buddhists (loosely speaking).

4. QURAN – It is the holy book of the Muslims. I don’t have to give you a lot of introduction on Muslims and Islam. Since September 11, 2001, we have come to know this religion more than any other.

QuranSo what’s the deal with the Quran? It is claimed to contain material that Mohammed had received as revelation from the angel Gabriel. Some he gave at Mecca and others at Medina. These sayings were collected by his followers on whatever they could find – pieces of parchments, palm leaf, piece of wood, bones, etc. There were differences between what his followers wrote down. Not only that but some of them were killed in a battle a year after Mohammed’s death. Then Mohammed’ s most trusted secretary, Zayd ibn Thabit, was appointed to gather the material. Even then there were several different versions of the Quran floating around. Once again Zayd was called to edit an official version of the Quran and all other manuscripts were destroyed.

Many different branches of Muslims disagree over the integrity of the Quran. Many scholars have tried to point out the errors and they have been threatened by the Islamic clerics. By the way, there are also the Hadiths – they contain information on Mohammed’s life and informal sayings. They are used to shed light on the Quran. But there are many disagreements over them.

This is the holy book of the Muslims.

4. DAODEJING – The holy book of Daoism – Chinese popular religion. More than likely it was put together about 300 years after its founder had died. It has not much to do with Daoism but deals with how metaphysical balance brings about spiritual power.

5. KOJIKI, NIHONGI, AND AMATSU NORITO – The writings of Shintoism. It was put together in the 7th century by a man named Yasumaro under the command of the emperor.

6. NORSE SAGAS – The myths and mythologies of the Anglo-Saxons. There are no writings, except what were written down by the Christians.

7. GURU GRANTH SAHIB – The holy book of the Sikhs. It contains some 6000 hymns. It was collected by the 5th guru Arjan Dev about 1604 AD. About a hundred years later it was elevated to the status of a guru. The original copy is at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India. It is treated as a person.

II. HOW WERE THE GOSPELS WRITTEN?

Listen once again to how Luke begins his gospel. This is one long Greek sentence with no stop. – 1 Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative

Meaning: I’m not the only one who has thought about writing a gospel. Maybe he is referring to Matthew and Mark but more than likely there were more. By the way, the “more” are not the Gnostic gospels – Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary, and Gospel of Judas. These came much later. The gospels he’s referring to are probably lost forever. Did you also notice that Luke does not say “My gospel sets the rest of them straight”? They were telling the same historical account.

of those things which have been fulfilled among us,

Meaning: These were not random events. These were fulfillments of Old Testament prophecies. The gospel is not something new. It is an account of prophecies given since the beginning of time that have finally come to pass.

2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us,

Meaning: Luke is not 50 years or 100 years after Jesus. He is still able to talk to the eyewitnesses. If Luke were to write something untrue, those eyewitnesses will stand up and defend the truth.

3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first,

Meaning: Literally, it is “having followed along closely.” This is no haphazard writing.

to write to you an orderly account,

Meaning: The product is no gibberish or some mystical stuff that no one understands. It is orderly.

most excellent Theophilus,

Meaning: There is much debate over who was Theophilus. Some say he was a real person and others say that he was just someone who was looking for the living God since Theophilus means “Lover of God.” Either way, it is clear that Theophilus was not looking for fluff. He wanted rock, solid truth.

4 that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.

Meaning: Theophilus already has some good idea of who Jesus was and what He did. Luke wrote not just to inform but to confirm.

This is the Gospel that we have in our hands. It is the Word of God. No other book comes even close to being its equal.

This is the Book that says – John 3:16-17 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Are you willing to trust what this gospel says?

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