Tag: David

Covenant connection!

Scripture reading for March 28th: 2nd Samuel 8-10

Have you ever sought out a person who you knew needed help, but would not be able to do anything for you in return?  What have you done to help that person?  What was your motivation in helping him?  If you are a Christian, this should be a way of life because our God did that for us!

David was a warrior and strong man of God.  He was always ready to fight the Lord’s battles and sought the Lord for most of his battles.  He had been involved in a struggle for leadership following the death of Saul and Jonathan, his friend.  God helped David and brought about victory over Saul’s son Ish-Boseth.  One David’s first acts as ruler was to seek out relatives of Saul or Jonathan to show covenant kindness based on his promise to Jonathan.  (2nd Samuel 9:1)  He was a man of his word!

Mephibosheth, a son of Jonathan was still around and he was crippled in both feet from a fall.  David sent for Mephibosheth and greeted him warmly.  He restored all his grandfather’s land and property to him and placed Ziba, his servant, in charge to work the ground for him.  He gave Mephibosheth a seat at the king’s table like one of David’s own sons! (2nd Samuel 9:7)  What unexpected kindness from this mighty warrior towards a rival whose grandfather had chased him and hunted him for almost 13 years!

King David’s actions are much like that of our gracious God!  God is a kind king who cares for His people.  He honors those who are in covenant relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.  When we are crippled because of sin, he takes us into his house and seats us as one of his own sons.  He restores our property to us and lavishes us with blessing and restoration.  (2nd Corinthians 5:17) We have grace and favor because of the covenant made with the King’s Son!

Look for a way to show kindness to someone who is handicapped, needy, or hurting today.  Remember, if you have done it to the least of these, you did it to Jesus Himself!  (Matthew 25:40)

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Israel’s history of rebellion!

Scripture reading for June 10th:  Acts 7:30-50

Stephen’s sermon defense to the rulers of Israel who crucified Jesus and now were plotting to get rid of him was taken from their own Scriptures.  Stephen went on to show how the Moses that the Israelites had rejected was picked by God 40 years later to be their deliverer.  He was sent to them with signs and miracles and led them out of Egypt.  (Acts 7:35-36) Moses also prophesied that God would raise up another prophet like him from his own people.

While Moses was on the mountain of God getting the Ten Commandments, the people rebelled by making a golden calf.  They began to worship the works of their hands and turned away from God.  God gave them over to the worship of the creation and idols that they made.  Their rebellion would eventually send them to captivity in Babylon.  Stephen quoted Amos 5:25-27 showing that God knew about the rebellion and promised to punish them.

Stephen was being used by God to instruct these men, showing God held the Israelites accountable for their idolatry.  They had always rejected His prophets and refused to follow His ways.  Even now, these men were rebelling against the same God by persecuting those who were preaching Jesus Christ as Lord and performing signs and miracles in His name.  They had rejected God’s chosen leader Moses and had also rejected the prophet like Moses that God raised up, Jesus!  They were in danger of being given over themselves to their own idolatry of the Law and the temple!

Stephen used Isaiah 66:1-2 to show that God had already stated that He dwelled in heaven and that any earthly house could not contain Him.  These truths were made plain by Stephen’s preaching to those who were ruling in Jerusalem.  But truth will either bring conviction and repentance, or bring hardening and God’s judgment.  Stephen’s job was simply to present the truth in the power of the Holy Spirit and let the people choose their response.  How are you at listening to God’s truth when you are living outside of it?   Do you like it when God reveals an area of rebellion in your own life?  Is Jesus the leader you are following?

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Sunday rest and reflection: Psalm of Thanks

As we reflect back on this week’s reading and thank the Lord for His wonderful Grace, I am drawn to the psalm of thanks written by King David in 1st Chronicles 16:8-36.  This is quoted again in part in three other psalms in the Book of Psalms; 105, 96, 106.  This psalm of thanks was composed when the Ark of the Covenant was brought back to Jerusalem after being away in captivity and then at the house of Obed-Edom.  This is the time that David took off his kingly robes and danced before the Lord with all his might.  (2nd Samuel 6:12-16)  He was overjoyed to have the presence and blessing of God in Jerusalem, the city of David.

The psalm has a joyful tone and is boastful of the Lord and his great miracles and mercies!  It exhorts singing, praying, rejoicing, remembering, giving, declaring, trembling, crying out, and thanksgiving  from all peoples! The desire of God to spread His fame to the nations of the earth is a recurring theme! (1st Chronicles 16:8,24,28,31,35) God wants the nations aware of his wonders, miracles, and judgments.  He wants nations to know His Glory too. He exhorts the nations to ascribe to the Lord the glory due His Name.  He desires the nations to understand that the Lord who made the heavens and earth reigns supreme!

The last verses of this psalm encourage God’s people to cry out to the Lord to save them from the nations!  Although God desires the nations to be saved, He desires His people to come out from the nations and join the kingdom of God.  God is the only one who can save and deliver!  God is the only one worthy of all praise and thanksgiving!  He reigns from everlasting to everlasting!  (1nd Chronicles 16:35-36)  Let all God’s people say “Amen”.

What a great reflection on this seventh day of rest!  God has not changed!  He is desirous of all nations knowing Him and coming under His eternal rule!  We are to share His marvelous works and deeds with all nations and every person!  We are to worship, sing, remember, give, thank, seek, rejoice, cry out, declare, and praise this God who reigns from everlasting to everlasting!  Have a great day of rest and joy!  Jesus Christ is Lord!

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A pardon from the King!

Scripture Reading for April 1st: 2nd Samuel 19-20

Have you ever done something really foolish?  (By the way, today is April fool’s day!)  In the last presidential campaign, one of the candidates talked bad about his opponent without realizing that his microphone was on and he was being recorded.  It was an embarrassing situation that was hard to justify!  In today’s reading, a man by the name of Shimei had done something really stupid to King David, who was now returning to power in Jerusalem.

As David left the city when he fled from Absalom, Shimei yelled curses at him.   (2nd Samuel 16:5-8)  David responded with the statement that God had sent Shimei to do that.   (2nd Samuel 16:11-12)  Although Abishai, a son of Zeruiah, wanted to kill Shimei, David refused to do so.  David realized that his current situation was a result of his own sin. God had warned him that trouble would come to him from his own household.  (2nd Samuel 12:10-13)  Shimei’s curses were reminding David of his sin and of God’s promise.

Now, after Absalom’s rebellion had been stopped by his untimely death, David was returning to Jerusalem as King over God’s people.  Shimei was one of the first to greet him.  He immediately fell at the King’s feet and asked for mercy, confessing his sin and taking responsibility. (2nd Samuel 19:16-20)  His humble attitude and progressive actions found a receptive heart in the King.  The sons of Zeruiah still wanted to get revenge and had to be rebuked again by the King.  (2nd Samuel 19:21-23)  The King granted a pardon to Shimei! I believe he understood God’s mercy when he, himself, cried out to God for it.  (Psalm 51:1-2)

We can all identify with Shimei in that we have all sinned against the King of Heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ!  We have rebelled against Him and deserve punishment.  Our accuser, Satan, tries to condemn us to death.  But the Lord has mercy on those who humbly confess and call upon Him for pardon.  God forgives us our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness!  (1st John 1:9)   This is good news!  We can have a pardon from the King!  Honest confession and repentance will bring forgiveness and restoration.  Take the action needed today to deal with sins against God or man who is made in God’s image!  Psalm 51 is a great pattern.  Forgive yourself too!  We have a pardon from the King!

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“Oh Absalom, my son, my son!”

Scripture reading for March 31st: 2nd Samuel 15-18

“Honor your father and your mother,  as the Lord your god has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Deuteronomy 5:16

“This is what the Lord says; ‘out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you.  Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.  You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel'”.( 2nd Samuel 12:11-12)

God’s Word never returns void!  It is always true and the one who chooses to go against it does so to their peril.  King David disobeyed God’s command against adultery and although he was forgiven, he reaped what he had sown in his own household.  Absalom, a son of King David, chose to rebel against his own father and try to take the throne of Israel.  His story is recorded in today’s reading.  It has a boastful beginning and a sad ending.

Absalom was a master politician.  He made all kinds of promises to win the hearts of the people.  His heart was plotting a take-over of his own father’s throne and he did it by flattery and empty promises.  (2nd Samuel 15:4-6) He secretly set himself up as king and secretly won over David’s trusted counselor, Ahithophel, who joined in the conspiracy.  He was a man full of pride and self-promotion who would do anything to gain power.

Ahithophel advised Absalom to take his father’s concubines and sleep with them in front of all Israel.  This appealed to this rebel son and he willingly broke God’s commands and dishonored himself and his father, not to mention God!  In doing so, he fulfilled Nathan’s word to King David as his own father was confronted with his own sin of adultery!  God’s Word is always true and comes to pass!  (2nd Samuel 16:20-22)

Absalom’s brief rebellion ends in a tragic way.  He was always proud of his long, thick hair.  As he was riding his mule  through the forest of Ephraim in battle with his father’s men, he caught his hair on a branch and was left hanging in mid-air by his beautiful hair.  He was struck down by Joab, David’s army commander, and Joab’s armor-bearers.  His life cut short by dishonoring his own father!

When told of his son’s death, King David laments his death and wishes it had been him!  What anguish is caused by sin!  These sexual sins seem to offer such pleasure, but in reality cause death and agony!  We reap what we sow! David’s lament is very touching!  In it we hear the heart of God for all his lost children!  He wants none to perish, but all to come to repentance.  He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but wishes for their salvation and restoration!  In fact, He sent His own Son to die in our place!  Wow!  What amazing love!  Our Father identified with our sins and weaknesses and and offers pardon and restoration!

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Covenant Love!

Scripture reading for March 28: 2nd Samuel 8-10

Have you ever sought out a person who you knew needed help, but would not be able to do anything for you in return?  What have you done to help that person?  What was your motivation in helping him?  If you are a Christian, this should be a way of life!  In our reading today, King David does just such a thing!

David was a warrior and strong man of God.  He was always ready to fight the Lord’s battles and sought the Lord for most of his battles.  He had been involved in a struggle following the death of Saul and Jonathan, his friend.  This struggle was for leadership of the kingdom.  God helped David and brought about victory over Saul’s son Ish-Boseth.  Now David was king, and one of the first acts of his rulership was to seek out any relatives of Saul or Jonathan that he might show kindness to based on his covenant promise to Jonathan.  What an odd thing for a king to do:  show kindness to their chief rival! (2nd Samuel 9:1)

It turned out that one son of Jonathan was still around.  His name was Mephibosheth and he was crippled in both feet from a fall.  David sent for Mephibosheth and greeted him warmly.  He restored all his grandfather’s land and property to him and placed Ziba, his servant, in charge to work the ground for him.  He gave Mephibosheth a seat at the king’s table like one of David’s own sons! (2nd Samuel 9:7)  Wow!  What a turn of events for this crippled son!   What unexpected kindness from this mighty warrior towards a rival whose grandfather had chased him and hunted him for almost 13 years.

King David’s actions are much like that of our gracious God!  God is a kind king who cares for His people.  He honors those who are in covenant relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.  When we are crippled because of sin, he takes us into his house and seats us as one of his own sons.  He restores our property to us and lavishes us with blessing and restoration.  (2nd Corinthians 5:17) We have grace and favor because of the covenant made with the King’s Son!

Look for a way to show kindness to someone who is handicapped, needy, or hurting today.  Try to show special kindness in the way that Jesus has shown the same to you!  Remember, if you have done it to the least of these, you did it to Jesus Himself!  God bless you as you follow our Master today in this kindness!  (Matthew 25:40)

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Foolish competition!

Scripture reading for March 26: 2nd Samuel 1-4

When a leader dies or passes from the scene, there is often a struggle for one to fill that place.  The Bible declares that it is God who raises up leaders and brings them down, too. (Psalm 75:6-7)  The flesh, however, harbors a spirit of competition.  It wants to exalt “self” and take over power, take over position, and have it’s own way.  This leads to factions, murder, and war.  A house divided against itself cannot stand! (Matthew 12:25)

In today’s reading, David becomes king over the house of Judah.  Years before, the Lord had anointed him to be king.  David sets up his kingship in Hebron as the Lord directed him.  (2nd Samuel 2:1-3)  David does not try and take over all of Israel or to destroy Saul’s house, either.  He is a man of character and knows that it will be God placing him where He desires.  Ish-Bosheth, son of Saul, was made king over the rest of Israel by Abner, the commander of Saul’s army.  There was competition between the two groups.  Each desired to have power.

This competition took a deadly turn as Joab, commander of David’s army and Abner, commander of Ish-Bosheth’s army met one day at the pool of Gibeon.  A contest of hand to hand fighting resulted in the deaths of 19 of David’s men and 360 of Abner’s men!  (2nd Samuel 2:30-31)  The war between these two factions went on for a long time.  David grew stronger and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.  (2nd Samuel 3:1)

Galatians 5:19-21 describes the works of the sinful nature. Some of these are dissensions, factions, envy, and selfish ambitions.  These sins cause competition and the resultant discord and evil.  When we center on self, as opposed to God’s will, trouble always results.  God’s will is usually plain, if we have ears to hear it.  In the case of David, he had already been anointed as king by Samuel.   Saul’s offspring, Ish-Bosheth, and the commander of Saul’s army, Abner, refused to listen or seek the Lord.  The result was war and discord that caused the death of innocent people and turmoil among God’s people.

Today, examine your own life for these works of the sinful nature.  Are you filled with envy over a person who seems to have a job, position, or relationship that you would like or feel you deserve?  Are you involved in factions and dissention every day?  Do you have desires for power or position that come from an inner need for recognition?  Give these to the Lord and allow Him to search your heart and bring peace.  Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace!  He is able to place us where we need to be to accomplish His plan for our lives!  (Galatians 5:22-26)

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Nabal, the fool!

Scripture reading for March 24: 1st Samuel 24-26

Have you ever known someone who was hard to get along with?  Not only that, they were rich and had lots of money and refused to help those who helped them?  Nabal was such a man whose record is written down for us to ponder.

Nabal was a “Calebite”, a descendant of Caleb, the faithful spy and conqueror of giants.  Nabal was described as being “surly and mean in his dealings”. (1st Samuel 25:3)  One of his own servants also described Nabal as a man who was “such a wicked man that no one could talk to him”. (1st Samuel 25:17)  He liked to party and alcohol was also a factor in his reputation.  (1st Samuel 25:36) If he were around today, he would fit in well with many men in our world: arrogance, alcohol, money, and beautiful women leading to a surly and mean disposition which most people find difficult to get along with. Looking at Nabal’s life is like watching one of today’s popular soap operas!

Nabal was married to a Abigail, a woman described as “intelligent and beautiful”.  It is interesting how God places people together.  Often our mate is the one who can help us with our own sins and weaknesses.  It was that way in this marriage. Hearing how arrogantly her husband had treated the servants of David, who had helped protect Nabal’s herds, she quickly took action to avert a disaster.  She was like the godly woman in Proverbs 31 who was working for her husband’s good.  Abigail took goods and met David and his men as they were coming to seek revenge.  She appealed to David, humbly asking for his favor.  David listened and relented.  Through his godly woman, he heard the voice of God and was spared the shedding of innocent blood.

Returning home, Abigail found her husband at a party, drunk.  She waited until morning to tell him what she had done.  When Nabal heard about her kindness, God struck him with what appears to be a stroke.  The scripture says that Nabal “became like a stone”.  When you are mean and surly and your heart gets hard, the consequences can be deadly. On the other hand, because of Abigail’s  kindness and good sense, David asked her to marry him.  What a turn of events!

What lessons can we learn for our lives today?  First, mean and surly people cause trouble.  Alcohol is a source of great trouble in families and costs individuals their health and often their soul!  Second, revenge belongs to God alone.  He can and will repay!  Sometimes God’s timing is not as precise as in our story today, but God knows what is best and needed.  He wants none to perish, but all to come to repentance if possible.  He gives each person a chance. Third, when we are humble, kind, and respect others, God will and does reward us.  Abigail was well taken care of.  She was a good wife to her mean and surly husband.  She could become a good wife to David, king of Israel!   You reap what you sow!

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True Friendship!

Scripture reading for March 23: 1st Samuel 20-23

When I was in school, I had a “best friend” named Kendal.  He and I were in the same class at the same school from kindergarten until our junior year of high school.  We tried to sit together and play together at recess.  His father was a farmer, like mine, and we had a lot in common.  We camped out during the summer and loved to hunt birds and fish.  We had a great time, and often shared our hearts with each other.  Kendal was drafted into the Army and went to Vietnam.  I had gone to college and had enlisted in the Iowa National Guard.  Kendal gave his life serving our country.  I had the privilege of being a pall-bearer at  his funeral!  Best friends are hard to find, and even harder to loose!

David and Jonathan were best friends.  The Scripture records their love for each other and how their hearts were knit together.  (1st Samuel 18:1-4) Jonathan was Saul’s son and the probable heir to the throne of Israel.  David was a shepherd and musician who God had selected to be the next king of Israel.  God placed David in Saul’s court to prepare him for his kingship.  Jonathan recognized the favor of the Lord on David and was drawn to him in a covenant love.  They became best friends and shared their hearts with each other.  They made a covenant that would bind them to help each other and even their extended families.

David’s anointing and the favor of the Lord did not bring love for him from King Saul, however.  King Saul was jealous of David’s reputation and was afraid of David’s anointing.  He was insecure and tormented by an “evil spirit from the Lord”.  (1st Samuel 17:14, 23)  David played his harp and the evil spirit would leave for a time.  The evil spirit would return and sometimes turn murderous towards David.  Saul tried to kill him on several occasions and David was forced to flee.  Jonathan always tried to patch things up or help his friend.  Real friends are there through thick and thin!

Finally, David realized that King Saul was going to kill him.  Jonathan tried one more time to patch things up, but was himself attacked with a spear by his own father!  Jonathan sent David away with tears and reaffirmation of their friendship. (1st Samuel 20:41-42)  When he could, Jonathan would slip away and meet with David.  He always encouraged him in the Lord!  (1st Samuel 23:15-18)  Jonathan maintained friendship even when he knew his own father was out to kill his best friend.

We have such a friend as Jonathan in our Lord Jesus Christ!  He is faithful and true to us, even when the going gets rough!  He provides encouragement and shares his armaments with us!  We can call on him at any time and he will come.  He will warn us of danger and help us to either face it or escape.  He is a friend by covenant and promises to help our descendants as well!  He is benevolent and can be trusted to do us good all of our lives!  Praise the Lord–He has called us friends!  (John 15:15-17)

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“God looks at the heart!”

Scripture reading for March 21st: 1st Samuel 16-19

Our culture prizes youth, beauty, intelligence, power, and money!  We tend to judge people by what we see or know about their life.  Where do they live?  What kind of car do they drive?  Are they handsome or beautiful?  What position do they hold?  Who are their friends?  I don’t believe it has been much different since the fall of man.  We are very driven by our senses and peer pressure.  But God sees things differently!

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance, or his height, for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1st Samuel 16:7)

What does God see in our heart?  What is he looking for?  He is looking at the things we truly value. He is looking for a heart after God, a heart that will trust God and live by faith in His Word! (2nd Chronicles 16:9)  When we put God first, and not our “self”, He is pleased!   He is looking for a “humble and contrite” heart. (Isaiah 66:2)  He needs a heart that can be taught, corrected, and shaped for His habitation.  If a mere man is going to walk with God, he certainly must be humble and willing to learn.  I believe God is looking for a pure heart too.  Only those who are pure in heart can see God.  (Matthew 5:8)

How does a mere man measure up?  God Himself provided the way through a descendant of David, the man after God’s heart!  Jesus Christ had the perfect heart!  He was fully sold out to God, his Father.  He did only what he saw His Father do and said only what He heard His father say!(John 5:19-20)  Jesus was humble of heart–and wants to teach us the same!  (Matthew 11:28-32)  Jesus was pure of heart–completely without sin!  He offered His own life on our behalf!  If we confess our sins to Him, He will cleanse us of our sins and all unrighteousness!  (1st John 1:9)  We can have a pure heart too!  We can learn from Him by receiving the Holy Spirit of Truth.  We can live by faith in His Word!  The just shall live by faith!

Praise the Lord, God still looks at the heart!  Does He see Jesus Christ as Lord in your heart today?  If He is not your King, why not humble yourself and invite Him to live in your heart today!  You will be eternally grateful!

“The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”  (John 3:35-36)

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