The Mars Hill staff is in a series of devotionals drawn from the book, A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. We share highlights from the book each week, but we invite you to get a copy and read along with us. The drama is a multi-act play telling the stories of three kings. It is a portrait of submission and authority within the Kingdom of God; offering hope and healing to the spiritually wounded.
Before he became the king, David served a king… King Saul. During this time, Saul often felt torment and David, being the experienced musician, would play his harp and sing many of the songs that he had penned while tending sheep and meditating on things of God.
David’s beautiful music soothed Saul’s spirit for a while, but at the same time, it was one more reason for Saul to be jealous of David. As Gene Edwards says in his book, “Saul felt threatened by David, as kings often do when there is a popular, promising young man beneath them. The king also knew, as did David, that this boy just might have his job some day.”
David was caught in an uncomfortable position! He had come to serve in the palace at the king’s request, yet he was increasingly aware of the king’s angst against him. Focusing on David’s part of this drama, we considered David’s obedience to serve in whatever situation God put him in, whether it was as a sheepherder, an errand boy or now, as a palace musician.
In Gene Edwards’ book, the author believes that David understood what God wanted. He wanted broken vessels – people who understand that brokenness comes with pain. People who will not run from it but instead, trust God to be their strength through the adversity.
With the idea in mind of embracing brokenness, we read and discussed the following scriptures:
“And anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.” (Jesus speaking)
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wished to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”
Then Jesus called the crowd to Him along with His disciples, and He told them, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
And whoever does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.
I Peter 2:21
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His footsteps.
There is one word common to the theme of all of these verses…. Follow!
Follow Jesus! But, what does it mean to “take up your cross?” It means to identify with His cross and to deny ourselves – our own desires – and follow Him.
It is to identify with His cross as taught in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.”
It is to expect and accept the same rejection that Jesus experienced as the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:10, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
Our discussion ended with two conclusions. First, we don’t have to go looking for our own methods of breaking; if we seek Christ and follow Him, brokenness will happen in the process – in the way that He deems best for us.
Second, in brokenness, there is gain as we can “consider it all joy…when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing…” – James 1:2-4