Advocate or Instrument?

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2 Samuel 24:1 Now again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”

An advocate is defined as one who pleads the cause of another. I recently met someone who is certainly God’s advocate for the poor. In fact, it’s been a long time since I’ve sensed such passion in a person about a cause so close to God’s heart. So it would seem strange to anyone that an advocate for a cause so close to my own heart could hurt me, but she did. In her zeal and frustration from a lack of biblical justice at work, she called a news station to report that our ministry wasn’t doing enough. With no knowledge of our history or even a thorough understanding of our mission, she somehow convinced a local news reporter that what we weren’t able to do was wrong-doing. At some point, her ministry in the Kingdom and to the poor will mature and she’ll look back and probably regret her decision.

David did.

He too was an advocate for God’s cause. God was angry with His people and so David, in his fervor to partner with God, acted on his own to discipline the people of Israel. His sin had quite the deleterious effect.

There’s a big difference between being an advocate and being an instrument.

An advocate is moved by the thunder of God’s heart but an instrument is moved by the instruction of His still small voice.

An advocate gives attention to the object of God’s love but an instrument wants more so to be the subject of His love.

An advocate wants to do the work of the Lord, but an instrument wants to be the work of the Lord.

An advocate will put his hand to the plow, but an instrument would rather be the plow in His hand.

The episode of David’s disobedience is recounted in 1 Chronicles 21:1.  There we learn that it was not God who incited David to sin.  Rather, David perceived God’s anger and as he took a position of advocacy for justice (rather than God’s instrument of justice), the enemy swooped in and tempted him.

David heard God’s heart but he was disobedient in acting on his own.

Being an advocate without foremost being an instrument may go a long way in a world hungry for charisma, but it won’t go anywhere with the Blacksmith who wants to use you in His hands.

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