While reading “The Workman of God“, by Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest), in the chapter entitled “The Worker Among the Two-Faced“, I came across a passage which I believe needs to be prayerfully considered, by all who serve Jesus Christ, in Gospel ministry. In the passage, King David and Nathan the prophet are being used to reveal the often easy to hide hypocrisy, which can grow in the heart of those who truly love the Lord.
“Let us go back to the incident recorded in II Samuel 12. For subtlety, for amazing insight and sublime courage, Nathan is unequaled…
…Would to God there were more preachers and Christian workers after the stamp of Nathan. David did not even begin to realize, after a year of the grossest and most dastardly hypocrisy, that Nathan was brandishing the sword straight into his own conscience, and only when David had made his answer and Nathan heaved out strong denunciations of God and thrust the sword straight home with, “Thou art the man,” did David say, “I have sinned against the LORD.” There was no bungling about Nathan’s work.
If you want to know how it was possible for a mighty man of God like David to have sinned the most wicked sin possible–I do not refer to adultery or to murder, but to something infinitely worse, a deep, subtle, inward hypocrisy, tremendous and profound; David lived with it for a year and administered justice while all the time he was a “whited sepulcher”–you must first allow God to examine deep down into the possibilities of your own nature.”
This passage caused me great pause.
How often do we in the pursuit of our calling, begin to compromise, concerning the time we set apart for seeking the face of God? Usually this pursuit is justified by how much work we have to do, as ministers. Yet even as we justify the compromise, almost apologetically with an “I know I need to spend more time with the Lord” statement, we really have little intention of changing course or stepping of the merry-go-round. Why?
David’s calling as king, laid upon him responsibility and a persona–it provided him with ego stroking that little by little replaced his desire for God and his desire to follow hard after Him.
Let’s be honest, as ministers we must be careful of the same pitfall. We are called to the ministry of the word and prayer, but if that is erroneously founded upon study and intellectual recall, we minister from an emptying well. It is often true in our ministry context, that if we don’t get it done no one else will; but to live by that is to walk in pride. We need to re-frame our efforts for the kingdom of God with “Lord Jesus is this what you want me to do?” Then wait for His reply and obey His leading.
David’s pride was stoked by unbridled passion, not tempered or led by the Holy Spirit, for a long time before his fall. This lead to little compromises in carnality, which began to wither his resolve. Those little carnal compromises appear in our lives, when we are not finding the continual fullness of the Holy Spirit, because we are ministering out of experience, rather than the present leading and power of God. As a result of our living and ministering on “auto pilot”, we lose spiritual stamina, strength and resolve.
When this occurs we think we are dealing with our troubles, like the spiritually mature, who soldier on. The truth is, we are not dealing with them at all; except with carnal and worldly activities and distractions (ministry might be one as well).
As David fit this pattern, we can very easily as well. Have you ever read of the Ephesian Church in Revelation 2:1-8? Once more let’s visit Chamber’s work.
“Mark how Nathan came to David. “And the LORD sent Nathan to David.” Be sure, before you face a hypocrite, a two-faced soul, that God has sent you… to use all the subtlety you have from your own heart. Any worker who has stood before God’s all-searching eyes for five minutes is not staggered at David’s fall. Any heart-sin recorded is possible for any human heart, and why I say that the worker among the two-faced (one given to secret hypocrisy) will find the hardest work is that he has to get his wisdom and subtlety not only from God on High, but from a strange, mighty probing of His own nature.
In addition, Chamber’s writes…
Worker for God, before you go among the infirm, the sick, the subtle, the hypocrite, let God deal with you. A child cannot wield the sword of the Spirit; it must be wielded by one fed on strong meat, one who has been deeply dealt with and examined by God’s Spirit, in whom the last springs and possibilities of iniquity and wrong in his own nature have been disclosed to him, that he might understand the marvel of God’s grace.
Considering Chamber’s last comments. How often do we minister on Christ’s behalf with sanctified motive and sincere love of the brethren–thinking as we minister along the line of “God is moving for sure”, only to see a limited and disappointing result?
It is true this can be attributed to callousness, immaturity or spiritual insensitivity, in the persons being ministered to, but it is also possible the fault may lie with us. Would we not serve Him more effectively, by seeking the Lord to search our own hearts?
The New Testament reveals that the servants of Christ, who were fully set apart for God, refused to pick up worldliness and denied themselves as a rule, were not only happy in Christ in the most dire places, but powerfully effective in turning the world upside down.
Come to think of it, around the world, where the ministers of Christ do the same, they minister in miraculous power, persevere in difficulty and are making disciples in the direst places. Perhaps it is time for the servants of the Lord in America to confess, we like David are not only prone to harboring hypocrisy, through justifying compromise, but may be in the midst of it right now.
Dear friends, I point no finger at you, but confess, I have, at times fallen prey to this carnal pattern. If you have not, pray for me, that I would follow the pathway of Nathan, rather than David. May God bless you as consider this writing.