Summary: The role that men play in true worship is essential to the survival of the church.
The city has been burned down to it’s very foundation. Once proud, solid structures had been reduced to fragile rubble. If you look around you can still see embers slowly burn what is left in the camp. If you lift your nose ever so slightly you can still smell the stench of smoke blowing in the air. An area once lively with activity and sounds, has now become ghostly silent and still. No sound of life. The joyful sound of family and friends overtaken by the whistling of the wind through a desolate crime scene. If only the men had been there. Oh, I’m sorry. I believe there is a misunderstanding. I’m not talking about what happened in my text. I’m talking about what is slowly happening to the church. We are allowing animosity to burn the church down to it’s very foundation. We are allowing embers of sin to slowly burn the very fabric of this church. Our once solid structure of faith is being reduced to rubble. If you lift up your nose you can smell the stench of sin in the air. Instead of defeating sinful behavior we defend it. Instead of saying “Oh No” to sinful behavior we are saying its “O.K.” The church once lively with activity and spirit-filled sounds has become ghostly silent. The joyful sounds of family and friends fellowship in unity has been replaced by the sounds of gossip and backbiting and feuds. If only the men had been there.
Now, I know when we look around in the church today we see a good number of men in the building. Physically in the church. But are we really there? Being there involves more than being present. For a man to really be there, he has to be doing something for the edification or building up of the church. If you come to church just for the sake of coming, you are not really there. If you come to church just to get in a good nap, you are not really there. If you come to church just to sit quietly on the pew, you are not really there.
It is not simply about attendance, it is about living up to your spiritual responsibility. When men take on their role in the church, some of the problems that are going on in the church today would disappear. When men step up and say “No, we will not allow this to happen in our church,” there will be a change in the church. When men lead in the praising God, the church will praise God. The men support the pastor, the church will support the pastor. If the men are strong, the church will be strong.
Are we really there? The reason why that question is so important is because Satan is trying everything in his power to bring down the church. He is attacking our women. He is attacking our children. He is trying to take everything of value away from this church. But this is my warning to Satan. WAIT UNTIL THE MEN COME BACK.
David had been spending most of his time fleeing from the wrath of Saul. So much so that he has been living in the land of his enemy the Philistines. He had become so peaceable with one of the princes, that he gave David a city of his very on in Philistine. They called it Ziklag. Imagine that. David had a city or an oasis if you will in enemy territory. Ziklag is representative of the church. In this world of hatred and malcontent we have our own oasis here in our own church. Our Godly city in the midst of an ungodly world.
David, preoccupied with the ongoing war between Saul and Israel against the Philistines, David had taken his all his men away from the city in preparation to fight. And after receiving the good news that they did not have to fight they proceeded to take a three day journey back home.
Can you image being gone for so long and finally being able to return home? I bet they were thinking, “Man I can’t wait to get back for some good home cooking.” “I can’t wait to see my wife and kids.” “You know David always throw a great feast anytime we get back.” For three days they look forward to being home. And as they get closer to the city, they notice none of the women came dancing out to greet them as they usually did. None of David’s sons and daughter came running to him to see if he brought anything back. There was nothing. And someone notices smoke ascending from over the ridge. Though tired, I can image them running to see what had happened. And as the first man gets to the city, I can imagine him falling on his knees, with his heart in his throat. The city is no more. The women are no more. The children are no more. There is no moo from a cow or baa from a sheep. Just smoke and destruction.