June 4

2 Samuel 12:10 (NIV) 10Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.'

After David had Uriah killed and married Bathsheba, God sent the prophet Nathan to David. He told him the story of a man who had one little lamb that was his only and dearest possession. A wealthy man of the city came and took the lamb from him to feed to his guest. David said that wealthy man deserved death. Nathan's response must have stunned David, "You are the man!" David thought he had gotten away with his sin, but God loved David too much to let it go.

The real crime in sin is despising God. David knew God had blessed him and that all he had was a gift from God. Every victory was because of God. Every blessing was the grace of God. He already had at least three wives, but he despised the goodness of God and took what was not his to take. That is the root of all sin, a despising of God and His goodness, demanding what we want though it is not ours to take. This is the height of ingratitude. If God was a man who was that generous and good and you abused his trust, he would probably end the relationship. Thank God for being more gracious and forgiving than men!

David repented. He would now have to face the consequences. The cycle of sin would affect generations to come. The unguarded, rebellious moment would cause untold pain and suffering in David's life and in the life of his descendants. Sin is never a little thing. One seed sown reaps a harvest of trouble.

Admonition: Guard your heart! Do not despise the Lord and His goodness to you.

June 4

John 3:28-30 (NIV) 28You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' 29The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30He must become greater; I must become less.

One of John the Baptist's disciples asked if he was concerned about Jesus becoming more popular than him. John answered that a man can only have what God gives him. If God gives a man favor or anointing, the Sovereign God of all allowed that. Who are we to question it?

John reminded them that his message had always been that of the forerunner. He was only there to announce the coming of the Messiah. Then John gave them an illustration from the marriage customs of that day. When a groom went to receive his bride, he would take his bride into her house where she was conceived and consummate the marriage. The friend of the groom (best man) would wait outside the door of the home for the voice of the groom to announce that the marriage was consummated. Then the friend would announce to the waiting crowd that the marriage was complete, and the weeklong party could begin. It was a tremendously joyous occasion.

John the Baptist was saying that he is like that friend of the groom. The bride, the people of God, belong to the Messiah, not the friend. He is not sorrowful that Jesus had become more popular. It was like hearing the voice of the groom saying the marriage is complete. John is calling out that it is time for a party, not whining about losing the limelight. John the Baptist's joy was complete in knowing that people were going to Jesus. It was a necessity that John's ministry wind down, and that Jesus' ministry take off and surpass that of John's.

Sometimes we forget that our work for Jesus is not about our popularity but about His. People may be attracted to our ministry, but if that does not send them on to Jesus, we have lost sight of what it is all about. He must increase in the eyes of those we minister to, and in doing so we will naturally decrease. That is not a sad thing, it should be the completion of our joy.

Consider: Are the people you are influencing focused on you or Jesus?