Ephesians 4:7-16: Spiritual gifts – pastor teacher, part 2.
Wednesday November 17, 2021
Pastor-teacher (shepherd and teacher). Poimeno (pastor) from a root meaning to protect, and didaskalos means teacher.
Pastor is a shepherd.
We began our study last time looking at David. To him God said that he was to shepherd God’s people Israel as well as ruling them.
God also connected David’s shepherding to the eternal house that God would build for him.
David’s trouble began when he neglected his role as shepherd.
David experienced nothing but victory and a continued ascent in glory since king Saul died. David became king of Judah and then king of all the twelve tribes, then he conquered and took Jerusalem, then he destroyed the power of the Philistines who came against him. After than the Ammonites opposed him and gathered many allies against Israel, but one by one David destroyed those allies and the Ammonites fled to the refuge of their capital city Rabbah. Israel’s army returned to winter in Jerusalem. David rested that winter at the height of his own glory and power, attained only by the grace of God. But when spring came and it was time for the army to deal a final defeat to the Ammonite city, David sent out Joab and the army while he remained at Jerusalem. We can only imagine that David figured the final battle was easy enough, so why bother going. The problem was that the shepherd should always accompany and protect his sheep, no matter how safe it might seem for them, his eyes must always be on the horizon for danger.
Did the Lord say to us, “When things are good and easy I’m going to leave you. Don’t worry, I’ll come back when things heat up.”? No. He is always with us and the shepherd is always with the sheep.
By not going with his sheep, David puts his soul and his body in a place of great danger. The laying aside of his given responsibility due to a so-called rational decision put his soul in danger. Being home when the sheep were in the field in danger and exposure put his body in danger. It culminated in him taking another man’s wife and having the man murdered in an attempt to cover the sin.
The sins of Biblical heroes evince the authenticity and credibility of the Scriptural narratives. Legends make excuses or denial of guilt.
The Bible shows plainly the sins of its great heroes. Far different are the legendary accounts which seek to palliate the sins of Biblical personages, or even deny their guilt. Thus the Talmud denies the adultery of David on the ground that every warrior had, before going to the field, to give his wife a divorce, so that Bathsheba was free.
Accordingly, the climax of many Biblical heroes is quickly followed by their decline. It reveals that their success is purely due to the grace of God, and it further reveals that God’s grace still demands our humility and obedience before God. When we turn our backs on the way of God, we suffer greatly. The grace of God does not remove our pain in failure. The grace of God does provide forgiveness as a foundation for repentance without regret, or, in other words, the ability to change, overcome, and move on. David did that, but his sin was grave enough in comparison with the height of his position as king, and therefore as God’s representative, that the consequences lasted for the rest of his life.
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.
I’m sure David wasn’t the only man who committed adultery and murder in that age, and all of them suffered for their actions, but David suffered uniquely as God’s king.
The point of this is that David was to be a shepherd to Israel, but he couldn’t be the Great Shepherd. Pastors, as well, are flawed men.
It goes without saying that they still need to, and are expected to, do their jobs well and overcome patterns of sin in their lives, but they will not be able to keep a perfect record. However, all of are to try to keep a perfect record. Never let sin take hold of any part of your life. Grace does not mean that we should continue in sin (Rom 6:1).
He took another man’s wife, described by the prophet Nathan in his parable as a lamb. He had the lamb’s husband killed, and Uriah, a foreigner, shows himself far more loyal to the flock and to the shepherd than David. David lied to protect himself. David became less than a shepherd in that he cared more for himself than his flock, and it cost him dearly.
The messenger brings bad news to the shepherd David.
Now David was sitting between the two gates; and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and raised his eyes and looked, and behold, a man running by himself. 25 And the watchman called and told the king. And the king said, "If he is by himself there is good news in his mouth." And he came nearer and nearer. 26 Then the watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, "Behold, another man running by himself." And the king said, "This one also is bringing good news." 27 And the watchman said, "I think the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok." And the king said, "This is a good man and comes with good news."
28 And Ahimaaz called and said to the king, "All is well." And he prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground. And he said, "Blessed is the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who lifted their hands against my lord the king." 29 And the king said, "Is it well with the young man Absalom?" And Ahimaaz answered, "When Joab sent the king's servant, and your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was." [in Hebrew, what the messenger states is pure nonsense, i.e., he doesn’t know what to say] 30 Then the king said, "Turn aside and stand here." So he turned aside and stood still.
31 And behold, the Cushite arrived, and the Cushite said, "Let my lord the king receive good news, for the Lord has freed you this day from the hand of all those who rose up against you." 32 Then the king said to the Cushite, "Is it well with the young man Absalom?" And the Cushite answered, "Let the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you for evil, be as that young man!" 33 And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!"
Before Nathan the prophet, David unknowingly pronounced a four-fold curse upon himself, and the death of Absalom was the fourth and final part of it.
David had long before this time acknowledged and confessed his sin before God. He wrote psalms about it. He would not fully recover from his fall, but he would be repentant. And as such he is much like a shepherd again. Notice his statement, “Would that I had died instead of you.” It is sacrificial.
The shepherd is sacrificial for his flock.
At another time, after David had done another thing, counting his army, that was displeasing to the Lord, God sent a destroying angel against Israel, and in this instance, we find David interceding and sacrificing himself.
The shepherd intercedes for his flock and sacrifices himself for them.
So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time; and seventy thousand men of the people from Dan to Beersheba died. 16 When the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the calamity, and said to the angel who destroyed the people, "It is enough! Now relax your hand!" And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 17 Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking down the people, and said, "Behold, it is I who have sinned, and it is I who have done wrong; but these sheep, what have they done? Please let Thy hand be against me and against my father's house."
Israel wanted a king. The worst part about it, on top of rejecting God as their King, was that they wanted a king “like other nations.” They were warned what this would be like and still they clamored for a king. The first king is Saul, and during his reign, a large Philistine, Goliath, confronts Israel, challenging any of them to a gladiator fight in front of both armies. It really should have been Saul to go out to meet him, but Saul is too afraid. David is the one to face the giant, who personifies the kings, or big men, of all other kingdoms. But God doesn’t find a bigger man than Goliath to face him. Rather, God puts a shepherd out there, and the shepherd, not fitting into armor, takes with him a shepherd’s weapon; a sling and a stone.
Israel’s greatest king, ancestor of The King, was a shepherd, ancestor to the great Shepherd.
A shepherd must engage in spiritual battle for his flock. If the enemy seems overpowering, he must trust that the battle is the Lord’s.
The shepherd had complete confidence that he would defeat the giant. He had to stand alone in his confidence. His own brother mocked him and taunted him for trying to do it. The Great Shepherd, Christ, was often alone in His own battles, most significantly in His greatest battle. Still, He said to His disciples after prophesying that they would all forsake Him, that He was not alone because He always had the Father. Our strength to lead and to do spiritual battle comes from the strength of our faith.
David was not qualified to be The Shepherd of the people.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel,
Thou who dost lead Joseph like a flock;
Thou who art enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth!
The Shepherd has to sacrifice Himself for the sheep, Zec 13:7. The pastors must give their lives for the flock (not crucifixion).
“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
And against the man, My Associate,”
Declares the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered;
And I will turn My hand against the little ones.”