MOMENTS OF TRUTH
“21 Qualities for Christians in the Bible”
#1 - Character
26 April 2020
In Colossians 3:12-17 we learn from Paul the Character of the Christian, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Christians cannot rise above the limitations of their character. It is our character that determines who we are. Who we are determines what we see. What we see determines what we do. That’s where we can never separate our character from our actions. How a Christian deals with the circumstances of life tells you a lot about their character. You see, crisis doesn’t necessarily make character, but it certainly does reveal it. Adversity is a crossroads which makes a person choose one of two paths: character or compromise. Every time we choose character, we become stronger even if that choice brings negative consequences. The development of character is at the heart of our development as Christians.
There are a lot of things in life that we have no control over. But we do choose our character. We create our character every time we make choices. Either we “cop out” or “dig out” of a hard situation. We bend the truth or stand under the weight of it. We take the easy money, or we pay the price. As we live our lives and make choices every day, we are continuing to create our character.
There are two examples in Scripture we want to turn to learn about Character. There are many many more we could turn to, some positive and some negative. We want to look at two positive examples today. The first is David in 1 Samuel 24:1-22. In this section of Scripture, we get to see David making a choice based upon his values, “Now it happened, when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, "Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi." 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. 3 So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.) 4 Then the men of David said to him, "This is the day of which the LORD said to you, 'Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.'" And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul's robe. 5 Now it happened afterward that David's heart troubled him because he had cut Saul's robe. 6 And he said to his men, "The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the LORD'S anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD." 7 So David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way. 8 David also arose afterward, went out of the cave, and called out to Saul, saying, "My lord the king!" And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed down. 9 And David said to Saul: "Why do you listen to the words of men who say, 'Indeed David seeks your harm'? 10 "Look, this day your eyes have seen that the LORD delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, 'I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the LORD'S anointed.' 11 "Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it. 12 "Let the LORD judge between you and me, and let the LORD avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you. 13 "As the proverb of the ancients says, 'Wickedness proceeds from the wicked.' But my hand shall not be against you. 14 "After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A flea? 15 "Therefore let the LORD be judge, and judge between you and me, and see and plead my case, and deliver me out of your hand." 16 So it was, when David had finished speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, "Is this your voice, my son David?" And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17 Then he said to David: "You are more righteous than I; for you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil. 18 "And you have shown this day how you have dealt well with me; for when the LORD delivered me into your hand, you did not kill me. 19 "For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him get away safely? Therefore may the LORD reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20 "And now I know indeed that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21 "Therefore swear now to me by the LORD that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not destroy my name from my father's house." 22 So David swore to Saul. And Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.”
If you noticed in this story David refused to kill King Saul because he was the Lord’s anointed. David shows a great deal of respect to the True and Living God. He reveals his “character” in that he humbled himself before God even though he too had ben anointed by God through the prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:13). David reveals to us Jesus’ teaching of the golden rule in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Had David chosen to kill Saul it would have had an impact on his future as King. He was a King that showed respect for life, even the life of one who was determined to kill him. David showed a heart of forgiveness and therefore revealed a Character like God’s hence his being referred to as “a man after God’s own heart.”
Something else that is interesting to note about David’s decision is he chose not to kill Saul even though his men wanted him to kill Saul. They sought vengeance for the mistreatment of David. But, we see David take a stand and once again reveal his “Character” which ultimately led his followers to admire him
Finally, with David and his discussion with Saul we see yet another side to David’s “Character.” Saul asked David to swear not to kill his descendants rather than swearing not to kill him. Knowing what we know about David and his relationship with Jonathan, Saul’s son, this once again speaks with great volume the “Character” that David has when it comes to respect, reverence, and love for his fellow man and God. You see, David’s values, his relationship with God, moved him to great “Character” in his choice in not putting Saul to death even though the opportunity presented itself. This is even another lesson you and I need to learn. We may have “rights” to do many things, but we must take into account if we take those rights will they cause another to stumble? Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:23, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.” David reveals incredible character in his decision.
Now let’s turn to our second example, Daniel. His character sets him apart in Daniel 6:3-28, “Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. 4 So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then these men said, "We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God." 6 So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: "King Darius, live forever! 7 "All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 "Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter." 9 Therefore King Darius signed the written decree. 10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. 11 Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12 And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king's decree: "Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?" The king answered and said, "The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter." 13 So they answered and said before the king, "That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day." 14 And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. 15 Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, "Know, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed." 16 So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you." 17 Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed. 18 Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him. 19 Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?" 21 Then Daniel said to the king, "O king, live forever! 22 "My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you." 23 Then the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God. 24 And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions-them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den. 25 Then King Darius wrote: To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. 26 I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, And steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, And His dominion shall endure to the end. 27 He delivers and rescues, And He works signs and wonders In heaven and on earth, Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. 28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”
Right at the beginning of this section of Scripture we are shown Daniel’s “Character.” He had already “made a name” for himself. He had exceptional qualities and the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. If you noticed the administrators and satraps who tried to find grounds against Daniel could find no corruption in him. This is quite simply because Daniel was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. So, the, we will call them “enemies of Daniel” had to come up with a way to “frame” Daniel based upon something Daniel had done since he was a child three times a day, praying to God! Something many of us today take for granted, praying to God, was used in an attempt to put someone to death!
Something sadder to recognize is the fact that the king actually listened to these enemies of Daniel and put in place a law so awful. If you noticed, when the king learned of Daniel going against the law to pray only to the king he was greatly distressed. In that moment he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.
Reluctantly, the king followed through with the consequence of breaking the law and threw Daniel into the lion’s den. If you paid close attention the king said some impressive words to Daniel in Daniel 6:16, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”
After the king had Daniel put into the den he returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment. He could not sleep. Daniel’s “character” had such an influence on the king we see the king immediately at the first light of dawn got up and hurried to the lion’s den. When he arrived he asked a question he may not have expected an answer, or maybe he recognized the faith of Daniel and hoped for and answer as he asked in Daniel 6:20, “And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?" Did you notice the description of how the king asked, “a lamenting voice” or “an anguished voice?” This, once again, shows the power of Daniel’s “character” upon the king! Daniel’s response is incredible and Faith building for Daniel responds, and this may be a complete surprise to all who were present for Daniel says in Daniel 6:21-22, “Then Daniel said to the king, "O king, live forever! 22 "My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you." With this response the king was “overjoyed” and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. When an examination of Daniel was conducted no would was found on him and the Scripture expresses this is due to the fact that Daniel had trusted in his God! This simply added to the king’s understanding of Daniel’s God. This whole experience resulted in the king disciplining those who had falsely accused Daniel. Notice who was included in this discipline in Daniel 6:24, “And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions-them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.” The power of Daniel’s good “character” is so important for us to learn and apply to our own lives. Because if the discipline of Daniel’s “enemies” wasn’t enough, look at what the king decrees in Daniel 6:26-27, “I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, And steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, And His dominion shall endure to the end. 27 He delivers and rescues, And He works signs and wonders In heaven and on earth, Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”
The lesson of Daniel is such a well-known story to our children it is so important that we take advantage of it in teaching our young the importance of “character” every day of one’s life.
We could safely say that with our examination of David and Daniel these could be all we need to help us see the importance of our character. However, our God ahs provided for us numerous examples of “Character” in the Scriptures. One negative we don’t have time for on our program is the story of Herod in Matthew 2:1-18. Herod made some terrible choices and revealed a great example of a negative “Character.” He reveals to us a “Character” that is only concerned with self. He was angry, impatient, self-centered and disturbed which all equals being “insecure.” This cannot be the way a Christian lives. Our Lord revealed in Himself the type of “Character” he wants in each of His children. A “character” that truly cares about life and the lives of others. Especially the souls of all of mankind. May each of us grow in the area of good “character”, so that be like David and Daniel when it comes to our love for the Lord and His creation.