Scripture reading for March 26: 2nd Samuel 1-4
When a leader dies, 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)
Years before, the Lord had anointed David to be king. David set up his kingship in Hebron as the Lord directed him. (2nd Samuel 2:1-3) David did not try and take over all of Israel or to destroy Saul’s house. He was a man of character and knew God placed him where He desired. 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 for 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. In the case of David, he had already been anointed as king by Samuel. Saul’s offspring, Ish-Bosheth and his commander Abner, refused to listen to the Lord. The result was competition that caused the death of innocent 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? 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. He is able to place us where we need to be to accomplish His plan for our lives! (Galatians 5:22-26)
Scripture reading for September 12th: 2nd Corinthians 12:11-21
Paul continued his defense of his own ministry, blaming the Corinthians for driving him to this. “I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. The things that mark an apostle–signs, wonders and miracles–were done among you with great perseverance.” (2nd Corinthians 12:11-12) Paul did not consider himself to be anything. But he did do the things that mark apostles of Jesus Christ in their midst. God had used him to preach the Gospel and they were saved as a result of his ministry. He had done other signs during his ministry there. This should have brought commendation.
“Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less?” Paul wasn’t after their money or possessions, as some of the “false apostles” had been. He considered himself like their parents. He wanted to be with them and bless them, gladly spending himself for their welfare. He loved them as Christ loved them, willing even to lay down his life for them.
Paul went on to explain that all he had written was for their strengthening and that he had written what was needed in the sight of God. ” For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outburst of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.” (2nd Corinthians 12:20-21) His love for them warned them of his coming so that they may repent and be found free from these sins! Examine your own life today for these sins! Jesus is coming soon!