While I spent this past weekend with my mother (Betty Davis, age 103) in Austin, Texas, Wayne Hobson brought the message in the third week of the Up In Arms series.
Wayne was witty, insightful, compelling, and, in the words of a Good Shepherd friend, “he hit it out of the park.”
Here’s his message: Bringing Down The House.
Up In Arms
1st Samuel 18: 1-2, 5-12, 17, 19-21, 24-25, 1st Samuel 31:1-2, 6-10
Well here we are in week 3 of our series “Up In Arms” and today’s message is entitled “Bringing Down the House.” …
Well this sermon is called “Bringing Down the House”, but it could also have been called “Burning Down the House” and it would sound like this…(AV – plays Burning Down the House by Talking Heads).
…Well this pass Christmas season opened up a whole new world for me. – I went into the construction business, building houses. Yeah, me! Ok, it wasn’t REALLY the construction business. Let me explain. At a holiday gathering, a group of friends and I were part of a house-building project – a gingerbread house building contest. Take a look… (AV – photo from GS staff party houses).
So this competition was a first for me. And the object was to see which team could build the best gingerbread house and the winner got to SMASH all the other teams’ gingerbread houses. Ironically, the winner also had to smash the house that they had built. Oh, did I mention that our team won? Here’s a picture of that award winning house that we built (AV – photo of Winning house).
So we got to smash the other houses that the other team built, but then we had to smash ours afterwards…
TALK ABOUT BITTER IRONY!
And speaking of bitter irony, this story which comes from 1st Samuel is absolutely fascinating. Let’s look at it. And as I’m reading, every time you see the words house or home, say it aloud as I read.
(AV – 1st Samuel 18: 1-2, 5-12, 17, 19-21, 25 & 1st Samuel 31:1-2, 6-10)
1Sa 18:1 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.
1Sa 18:2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family.
1Sa 18:5 Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well.
1Sa 18:6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lyres.
1Sa 18:7 As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”
1Sa 18:8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?”
1Sa 18:9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.
1Sa 18:10 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand
1Sa 18:11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.
Look at what’s going on in all of this. What a debacle this is. It all starts with a Israelite king named Saul, a giant named Goliath, and David, the youngest & seemingly weakest son of Jesse. David kills the meanest, biggest, bad guy in the land, So, we’ve got a dead giant, a kid turned superhero, an on/off/on again marriage, murder attempts & murder plots, evil spirits, and a madman for a king!
Where did it all go so horribly wrong? It all started with a heroic deed… and, ironically, a simple song.
Because after David returns from killing Goliath, there’s a celebration with women, wine, & song. Saul, a king known for his conquest, loves the beat, loves the party & the great bass line, & really loves the first part of the lyrics – “Saul has killed his thousands” – groovy man; I can dig it! But the 2nd part of the verse is where everything goes awry –“And David, his ten thousands!” and look what verse 8 of chapter 18 says… “And Saul became very angry…” But Saul, back in verse 5, you were the one who sent David out with your own men & now the servants & all the people love David?
Gotta share a discovery with you today…Here it is – being angry and having anger ARE NOT the same thing. Saul becomes very angry, so he becomes filled with anger. I learned that being angry is my temporary response to an undesirable situation – like when you have to send your food back 2 or 3 times.
Being Angry is your emotional response to a situation; Anger becomes your established attitude towards everything and everyone AND IT SPILLS OUT ON OTHERS.. Anger is a continuous state of being angry – angry over big things and then little things.
It looks kinda like this… (A/V YouTube video – Pastor in video smashes someone’s cellphone https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=53&v=L-Fc-rmfxXs )
…”I guess that phone had God’s love trapped in it and he was trying to let out.”
Now, Saul was filled with anger because David succeeds too much. We have Saul’s jealousy, we have his fear that David will take his kingdom, and we have his determination to take matters into his own hands. Much of this chaos happens in Saul’s house. That term house in these verses didn’t just mean the building that you lived in, it…it meant your legacy, your family’s entire future… your children, your pets, your place in the world. If you are functioning with anger today, what is it costing you and your family?
Maybe all this went wrong because oftentimes, our anger is the product of jealousy, or fear, or revenge. For Saul, it was all 3. That’s everything that you need to build a house that’s raised up on anger.
Maybe the source of your anger is jealousy over what others have that you don’t OR is it your fear that you’re secret will get out, OR is it your disappointment in what your family has or hasn’t done to you.
1Sa 18:12 Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had departed from Saul.
1Sa 18:16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.
1Sa 18:17 Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the LORD.” For Saul said to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!”
1Sa 18:20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased.
1Sa 18:21 “I will give her to him,” he thought, “so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.”
1Sa 18:25 …” Saul’s plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines.
Did you notice that Saul’s anger grew because the people’s love for David grew. David did everything for “God, Country, and his king”. “Anything for you me lord.” Yet everything that Saul did was for “Me, Myself, & I.” for us today, maybe your anger is based on how much others around you are succeeding, while you aren’t. moms, dads, maybe that child that you’re always arguing with, is happy with who they are and you’re anger at them is because you aren’t happy with who you are. Saul should have been embracing David, instead, he pushed him away. Who is your anger pushing away this morning? Your spouse, your children, parents, co-workers? What relationships are you eliminating instead of embracing?
Maybe your anger stems from what someone did to you and you simply haven’t really forgiven them, Even if your anger and your yellfest seems justified, what destruction is it causing and is it worth the price you and your household are paying? We’ve got some simple signs of anger and its so interesting, that we want to put it up on the screens for you.
(AV: Signs Of Anger:
You MAY have Anger If:
- You can’t stand that others have what you have (or what you don’t have).
- You believe that what you are doing is more important than the people that you are doing it with.
- Moms & Dads, you have anger when your own family runs from you when you arrive home, rather than running to you.
Maybe you see yourself or a loved one fitting in those signs and here’s a hint – if you’re looking away from your family right now, it’s YOU – hashtag LOL. Or maybe you’re like Saul, when it comes to your coworkers…maybe you are jealous about that co-worker who got that raise or that promotion that should have been yours – are you setting people up to fail? That’s what Saul decided to do to David – he set him up to fall into the hands of his enemies. Maybe that’s what’s happening when you know that coworker is falling behind in their work and they are about to lose their job – you decide to just sit back and watch it happen. Just like Saul sat back, hoping to watch the Philistines kill David. Or perhaps you do it to the folks you live with when you decide to just sit back and watch that family member fall apart when you could be saying something about them drinking or partying too much, all because you are carrying anger about what they did that you won’t forgive.
Let’s see what Saul’s anger does to his house
Sa 31:1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell dead on Mount Gilboa.
1Sa 31:2 The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua.
1Sa 31:4 Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.” But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it.
1Sa 31:5 When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him.
1Sa 31:6 So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day.
1Sa 31:7 When the Israelites along the valley and those across the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them.
1Sa 31:8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa.
1Sa 31:9 They cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among their people.
1Sa 31:10 They put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.
Now, we’ve got marriage, music, murder, and mayhem, all resulting in a combination of Game of Thrones & Four Funerals & A Wedding because the only thing that Saul’s anger got him was killed, along with his 3 sons.
Here’s what I want you to know – (AV) “The house that you raise up on Anger, will fall down on YOU!”
So GS, what about your anger? Where is it leading you today? Is your fear and doubt, and attitude ending in anger? I hope this isn’t the case in your household. I sincerely hope that your anger, your PPT’s (Personal Temper Tantrums) aren’t tearing your house apart and leaving destruction in your family’s path.
Saul’s plot turns on him! His every attempt to destroy David’s house and to strengthen his own proverbial house, only brings Saul’s house down on Him.
Saul’s anger was the destructive result of his fearful actions. And for those of us harboring anger, if you are not careful about dealing with your anger, you will end up just like King Saul – “if you don’t leave your anger with peace, your anger WILL leave you in pieces.”
Your anger will leave not only you in pieces, but like Saul, it will leave your life in pieces, your family in pieces, your marriage, your career, all of this and more will be nothing but rubble. Saul literally lost his head and His body was hung on a wall, while his battle gear was hung in the House of the Philistines false God. His anger built up the House of his enemy’s god, and Saul s own house fell in on him.
Ok, you got me preacher. You hit me right where I live… so what do I do with this house built on my anger? The truth is that you may have built that house of anger by yourself, but you can’t tear it down by yourself. Thank GOD you don’t have to… because nearly 2 thousand years ago, I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad that GOD used a CROSS to build a greater house. A house that has the power to bring your house of anger down without it falling on you! Thank GOD that Jesus was nailed to wood so that you and I don’t have to be nailed to a wall like Saul.
Maybe the source of your anger is jealousy over what others have that you don’t OR is it your fear that you’re secret will get out, OR is it your disappointment in what your family has or hasn’t done to you. Because (AV ) “The house that you raise up on Anger, will fall down on YOU!”
I know a little about what it feels like to think your anger is justified and singing that BJ Thomas classic, “Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.” I know what its like to hold in anger over what somebody did or said to you because it was very difficult growing up as a legally blind orphan. I remember the time when I was a senior in high school and I applied for an art scholarship and I won it –it should have been the happiest day of my life… but it turned out to be one of the worst days in my life. That was because later that day, I found out that my own family had said “he won? I thought that boy was too dumb to win anything. I left that town, went to college and swore that I would never return and I was glad years later that my family thought I was dead! Decades went back and I heard that my favorite aunt was sick and might not have long to live. This is my aunt Dolores Brown, better known as “Squeaky”.
When I found out that she was ill, the LORD clearly told me that I had to go back…Nooo I said – I’m never setting foot in that town again. But gently, GOD spoke to my anger – “you have to go back and see her.” So I went back and visited her. She was overjoyed to see me. She told me that she had been praying for so long that GOD would let her know that I was alright – I was her only nephew, the only child and last remnant of her deceased brother. Squeaky had been a heavy smoker and now she was on an oxygen tank – she had been on one for 13 years (most folks on oxygen tanks have a life expectancy of about 5 years). She asked me a question – Wayne, do you know how I survived this long on this tank? No I answered – she said You! Because I remember when you were a little baby and you were so sickly that the doctors thought you would die any day. I watched you in that incubator for 6 months, hooked up to tubes and I when I was told that I would be on this tank, I remembered how GOD brought you through it and I told myself that if GOD could bring Wayne through it, He can bring me through this.” If I hadn’t obeyed GOD and let go of that anger, I would have never gotten to hear what my aunt needed to share with me.
What about you? What blessings are you missing out on today because of your anger? What prayers haven’t been answered yet because GOD is waiting for you to trust Him to tear down your house of anger? You can’t tear that house down by yourself – you can build it alone, but you can’t bring that house down alone, you can’t burn that house down alone – you have to give JESUS permission in your life to bring it down for you!
Ending: It’s kind of like what a friend of mine experienced some time ago. His wife was diagnosed with a terminal disease & he had anger towards God because of it. Here was what he shared with me: “After we received the news that My wife’s condition was terminal, I began to develop an anger towards God. I still prayed and attended church. In fact, we prayed more together after her diagnosis than we had ever prayed together in our entire marriage. We knew that only a miracle would save her. I prayed for healing and that’s what I got when my wife and I came to one of Good Shepherd’s healing services. My wife didn’t get healed – I did! I left that healing service suddenly feeling God’s love and nurturing filling my heart surrounding me. The anger was replaced by His presence, even now, after my wife’s death, I can still feel God wrapping His loving arms around me. There’s no more anger or disappointment, only His love.” Lets pray.