Saturday, 31 December 2005
David thought everything was fine. He had covered up his sin with Bathsheba by bringing Uriah home, then having the battle arranged so that he died in the fight. He waited for the proper mourning period, brought Bathsheba into his home, and everything looked fine. Man was satisfied and everyone was happy.
Except for one important thing: the thing that David did displeased the Lord. We can please man all we want. We can all find a way to make things look right to others. We can fool others and cover-up our sin so that others are ignorant of our actions.
However, we cannot fool the Lord. He knows all He is never pleased with our sin. It is not nearly enough to please others. Do our actions please Him – that is the only question that really matters.
Friday, 30 December 2005
As we have already seen David was far from perfect. Here we see another flaw in his character that is going to lead to serious problems. David’s troops were out on the battlefront and this was the time of year since he should have been out with them. Instead he was hanging around the palace in Jerusalem.
David being in the wrong place at the wrong time was a dangerous thing. Although God gives us some flexibility within His will, there are times when geography does matter. It is clear from the wording of the passage that David was in the wrong here.
We need to be sure that we are where God wants us to be. God is not against some leisure, but He is against laziness. Let us make sure that when we are supposed to be out in the battle that we are not staying in Jerusalem.
Thursday, 29 December 2005
Joab and Abishai were facing two enemies, the Syrians and the Ammonites. Joab divided his forces, taking part of the army with him to face the Syrians and sending Abishai to face the Ammonites.
Then Joab gave some marvellous instructions for the battle:
Be of good courage
Be strong (play the men)
Let God do what seems best to Him
There is a wonderful, if very basic lesson here. We are to take courage in the Lord, go forth in His strength, and then leave the rest up to Him. We have very real battles that we face every day. We must learn that we do all we can humanly do, then we just have to leave it in His hands to do as He will and accept His actions.
Simple enough. We can’t do more than we can do. Leave that up to Him!
Wednesday, 28 December 2005
“And now, O Lord GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:” 2 Samuel 7v28
Although these words of David’s apply to specific covenantal promises they clearly are principles from the New Testament that we can apply to our Christian lives today.
David says three things about God:
You are God
Your words are true
You have promised goodness
There is no doubt that God is God (Acts 4v24). As God He is in absolute control of everything there is. He made heaven and earth and sustains them. As God He has the power to do whatever He wants.
His words are true. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. Being inspired it can be trusted with total confidence.
He has promised that all things work together for good to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose.
Knowing that God is God, that His words are true, and that He intends all things for good to His children should give us great confidence is facing daily situations. David had this confidence, do we?
Tuesday, 27 December 2005
The more I read about David the more real he seems. He knew himself. He knew his doubts and fears. He knew his weaknesses and strengths. He knew his successes and his failures.
Even more than that he knew as evidenced in Psalm 139 that God knew all about Him. God knew all about David and He still chose to make David his servant. God knew all about God and still called David a “man after His own heart.”
This ought to give us great comfort. Sometimes I feel so ill suited to do God’s work. I know my own heart and wonder how God could possibly use me. This passage gives us the great comfort that He does know all about what.
What marvellous grace it is that God could know me, and still use me!
Monday, 26 December 2005
David was far from perfect. He battled with sin and difficulties in his life. However the Bible calls him a man after God’s own heart and here we have part of the reason for that declaration.
David was under no misconceptions. He knew that he deserved nothing. He knew that we could be disobedient and fearful. He knew that at times he did follow the flesh instead of the spirit. He knew, as evidenced by the verse above that he was only wear he was because of the Lord. Here we see David’s humility.
The sooner we learn this lesson the better. Nothing we have is because we deserve it. Who am I that God should send His Son to die for me? Who am I to be allowed to serve Him?
I am nothing – all I have is by God’s mercy and grace.
Sunday, 25 December 2005
Saul had been a mighty king. He was one of the most powerful men on earth and was God’s ordained man for God’s ordained task. He had everything in place to be mightily used by God.
However Saul chose to walk by sight and not by faith, to look at the seen and not the unseen, and to look at the things below instead of the things. When he decided to depend on his own strength instead of God’s strength he was doomed to fail.
Jonathan and Saul both died in the same battle; Saul at his own hand and Jonathan slain by the enemy. The once mighty king had fallen because he never learned to trust the Lord.
When we decide to depend on our own strength instead of God’s we doom ourselves to failure as will. With the might of God we will never fall.
Saturday, 24 December 2005
David, like so many of us, had a roller coaster faith walk. Sometimes he could trust God totally and other times he ended up relying on the flesh and what he could see.
When he asked God about the Amalekites a second time God told his to go ahead and fight them and he would give the victory. God delivered the Amalekites into the hand of the army. They had a great victory and retuned with the spoils.
His men we called worthless men, and they did not want to share to spoils with the men who had not gone to fight. They wanted to keep it all to themselves. David however recognized the true sourced of the victory. It was not their efforts that provided the victory, but the Lord had given it to them. Therefore all that they won was from Him and they had not right to claim it as their.
Thus it should be with all that we have. Everything we have is from the Lord. It is not own. We should not lay claim to what we have but be willing to share it recognized God as our source.
Friday, 23 December 2005
Even David was not perfect when it came to walking by faith. When he say that Saul was bound and determined to kill him he was afraid and decided to join forces with the Philistines.
He became a successful warrior for the Philistines. After a time however he grew into disfavour since he was an Israelite. When he tried to go back to Israel he was rejected by them because of his apparent treason. Now he was truly a man without a country.
He had learned his lesson however. He was distresses and afraid. The people were ready to stone him because of his ruthlessness when he fought for the Philistines.
This time David did the right thing. He could not encourage himself with his situation. He knew there was only one way to encourage himself – he encouraged himself in the Lord.
We will always fail when we encourage ourselves in anything but the Lord. We will NEVER fail when we truly encourage ourselves in Him.
Thursday, 22 December 2005
Nabal was a scoundrel (NKJV) according to his own wife’s testimony. David made a reasonable request of him to help his soldiers and Nabal refused to cooperate and would not even acknowledge David as the king to be.
David was furious. He didn’t even stop to think, but decided to take his army and kill all the men in the area. For once he was going to act according to the flesh, and not wait for God.
When Nabal’s wife Abigail heard about it she decided to act. She prepared provisions and went to see David and beg for the rest of the men. After she reasoned with David he responded in a very, humble, God honouring way. He blessed her for coming to her for her advice. When he dealt with Goliath he trusted God. When he was dealing with Saul he refused to take matters into his own hand and trusted God to sort it out. When it came to Nabal he apparently became irritated and decided to act according to his own will. Abigail was able to keep him from acting wrongly.
How do we act when someone confronts us in this manner? It is so easy to get angry, get our back up and say something like, “Mind your own business!” When someone cares enough to stop us from acting in haste may we have the humility and grace of David.
Wednesday, 21 December 2005
How different were David’s words to Saul than they were to Jonathan. To Jonathan her said, “The Lord be between thee and me,” and to Saul he said, “The Lord judge between thee and me.” In both cases David showed that his faith was in the Lord. He could trust God to watch over Jonathan and he could trust God to take care of his enemy Saul. David consistently showed an uncanny ability to trust God in every situation and to deal with others.
In this case David felt guilty that he had even cut Saul’s robe. He pointed out to Saul that he could have killed him, but he would not so because Saul was God’s anointed. He knew that eventually God would avenge Saul for him, but he was not going to do anything about it.
David knew how to trust God to deal with others. O that we could all have that same faith!
Tuesday, 20 December 2005
From all appearance God had delivered Saul right into his hands. Saul chased him with the intent of killing him. Yet, David discovered where Saul was and approached him while he slept. His could have killed him and no one would have blamed. He could not bring himself to do so and only cut off a corner of his robe.
David could not harm Saul. He knew that Saul was God’s anointed leader. No matter what happened David knew it would be wrong to take matters into his own hands. He knew the principle of “vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.”
David sets a pattern for us. He was able to trust God in every situation. He was able to walk by faith that God would work it our instead of walking by sight and killing Saul.
Monday, 19 December 2005
Things were not going well in Saul’s house. He is fear of David had turned to hatred and he actively began to try and kill him. Things were so bad that it became obvious that David would have to leave.
As David and Jonathan prepared to part company it was obvious that their friendship was based on more than just a knitting of their souls. There was a third party in their friendship. “The Lord be between thee and me forever,” Jonathan said.
Friendships are not always blessed geographically. In the modern world we may have close friends literally scattered all over the world. If those friendships are based on a mutual affection for the Lord geography will not matter. Trure friendships, like that between David and Jonathan always survive separation because the Lrod will always be “between me and thee.”
Sunday, 18 December 2005
As time passed David was growing in popularity in the kingdom. Saul was growing jealous because of he praise being poured out on David.
The root cause went much deeper than that. Saul was afraid of David because he knew that the Lord was with David and He has left Saul. He knew what the source of real power was.
It is a shame how often we forget what Saul knew. The presence of the Lord is all that we really need; yet we often fear those who don’t have the Lord’s presence. We walk in fear when we should be walking in confident victory.
Saturday, 17 December 2005
After the battle with Goliath King Saul had to learn more about David. As part of the spoils for defeating the giant David would soon marry into the king’s family. David’s anointment as king was coming closer to fulfilment.
When David moved into the king’s palace he met Jonathan, the son of the king. Jonathan and David soon become close friends. So close in fact that the Bible says that the souls of Jonathan and David were knit together and Jonathan loved David as his own soul.
Their friendship was special. So closely knit were the men that nothing could ever come between them. They souls were knit like the fibres of a fine jumper. Nothing would ever come between these friends.
David and Jonathan set a pattern of true friendship. True friendship has no interest in self. True friendship means we love our friend as much as self. Whatever happens in a true, biblical friendship is based on what is good for both, not on what is good for one or the other.
Friday, 16 December 2005
The pre-fight conversation continued. Goliath was taunting and mocking David with his comments about his childhood and how easy it would be to defeat him. To all outward appearances Goliath was dead right. A huge experienced warrior against an inexperienced child. If they were taking bets the odds would surely have favoured Goliath.
Goliath was trusting in his own strength and ability. From all appearances he had every right to do so. David, on the other hand, put his faith somewhere else. “You come to me with a sword and spear and shield,” he told Goliath, “but I come in he name of the Lord.” Goliath had not only defied Israel, but he also had defied the Lord.
Later in the passage David said that God did not fight with a sword or spear. Zechariah 4v6 reminds us of the same truth, “Then he answered and spoke unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”
We all need David-like faith. Too often we are more like Goliath than David, depending more on our ability that on our Lord. When we focus our our power we walk in fear. When we walk by faith in His power we can walk in confidence and victory.
Thursday, 15 December 2005
Saul and the people though that David was crazy for wanting to fight Goliath. He was only a boy and Goliath had been a champion warrior since his youth. All they could see was this giant. According to the custom of the time whichever champion won the fight would win the battle for his side. All they could see was certain defeat.
David had another perspective. He knew that God had delivered him when he fought both a lion and a bear. As a boy he had no hope against these foes either, but God had allowed him to kill them. David already knew the principle of James 1. Trials now strengthen us for more trials later. He knew that he had no hope in his own strength when he fought Goliath. He knew that by sight he was sunk. But he knew something else; he knew that with God all things were possible.
We all face various giants in our lives. God will not bring a giant across our path that He has not already provided a way to defeat it. He will never give us more than we can handle. Look back to other foes that God has defeated and look forward with confidence to the giant in your path today!
Wednesday, 14 December 2005
Saul never was able to see beyond the visible. When he and army were confronted by the Philistines and their giant champion they were in great fear. All they could see was this nine foot tall warrior and his threats against them. Their fear had them paralysed and defeated.
Then young David came to bring provisions to his brothers. When he got there he too saw giant Goliath and heard his threats. Perhaps part of it was his youth and inexperience, but he asked, “What will happen to the man who defeats Goliath?”
Saul gave the answer, but his big brother chided him for coming. David’s response showed whereas Saul walked by sight, he saw the bigger picture. “Is there not a cause?” Something had to be done no matter how big Goliath was. The cause was more important that the challenge.
Today we have a cause. Our cause is to glorify God in our lives and bring men to Him. The giants are many. If we look at what we can see, all we will see our giants. Let us focus on the cause instead of the giants.
Tuesday, 13 December 2005
“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16v7
When Saul was sent to Jesse’s home to find the new kings he called on Jesse to bring out his sons. The first son to catch Samuel’s eye was Eliab. He must have been an imposing figure for Samuel said – “Surely, this must be the one!”
God however had another plan. He told Samuel, “Don’t look on his appearance, don’t look at his height. I have refused him.” Obviously, physical appearance was not going to impress God, it was the attitude of the heart that was going to matter to God. “Man looks on the outward appearance, the Lord looks on the heart.”
Physical still has a major importance to the world today. People are popular in many cases because of the way they look, or what they can do. Sports and Hollywood stars base nearly everything on looks or physical ability. Too many Christians have followed that line.
God is not impressed by our physical appearance or abilities. God is concerned instead with our hearts. How many hours do spend preparing our hearts compared to how much time we spend on our physical appearance?
Monday, 12 December 2005
Saul had been caught out in his lie to Samuel. First he tried to pass the blame off on to the people who demanded that they preserve the livestock. When then did not work he reminded Samuel that after all, he had done the spiritual thing by offering a sacrifice.
Samuel made something very clear – God does not delight in sacrifices and religious practices as much as He does in simple obedience. We can get so caught up in religious activities, going to church, and trying to act spiritual that some times we just forget to obey.
There is nothing that delights God more than our simple obedience. God loves simple, plain, practical obedience. He hates disobedience and rebellion, even likening it to witchcraft in verse 23.
Obedience is the very best way to show that we believe.
Sunday, 11 December 2005
“And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” – 1 Samuel 15v14
Saul had a real problem with faith living. When Samuel instructed him on defeating King Agag he told him to kill the king, all the inhabitants of the city. He told him to destroy all of the livestock in the city.
In the minds of Saul and the people it did not make any sense to destroy all that food so they spared Agag and all the livestock. Once again he acted by sight instead of by faith.
When Samuel arrived he Saul came forward and boldly proclaimed, “I have followed the commandment of the Lord!” What arrogance! He boldly lied to the Samuel and thought he could get away with it because he had offered his one and only sacrifice.
He didn’t reckon on Samuel’s response – “What meaneth the bleating of the sheep?” The Bible says, “be sure your sin will find you out.” The evidence of Saul’s sin was there. He said he obeyed God, but the sheep he spared we sounding out that he was a liar!
It is easy for us to think we can get away with sin and mask it with spiritual activity. We must be aware that our sin will eventually find us out. We should not be surprised at the “bleating of the sheep” when we are trying to cover up our own sin.
Saturday, 10 December 2005
Israel was in big trouble. Saul was dispirited after hearing the news that he would lose the kingdom. The Philistines were still on their border. They we outnumbered and defeat looked certain.
Jonathan and his armour bearer decided to do something about it. Under Jonathan’s direction they went out on their own to face the Philistines. Jonathan showed a faith his father did not show when he told the armour bearer that the Lord could save with a few as easily as He could deliver with many. Jonathan had great faith in making this declaration. It made no difference what he saw – he had the faith to trust in what he could not see.
Every time we face difficulties we have a choice. We can do like Saul did and respond to what we can see. Or, we can be like Jonathan and trust God in spite of what we see. Jonathan’s words have been a great comfort to me in the past. God can do His work no matter how big our numbers are. It is all His work. He can do it in our strength or in our weakness, in our many, or in our few.
Friday, 9 December 2005
Things were getting desperate for Israel. They looked around and saw the Philistines approaching. Samuel had promised to show up and offer a sacrifice in seven day. It was the seventh day and no Samuel.
Saul decided it was time to take matters into his own hand. He went ahead and offered the sacrifice on his own. As soon as he finished Samuel showed up. When Samuel asked what he had done, Saul said that he saw the Philistines and the situation they were in he decided to offer the sacrifice.
The problem is that he acted on what he saw, and not on what Samuel had said. He acted by sight instead of by faith. For this Samuel told him that the kingdom would be taken from him and given to a man after God’s heart.
Saul’s chose to look at the things that are seen rather than the things he could not see. He chose to look at the temporal instead of the eternal. No man who is a man after God’s own heart can look at the temporal. A man after God’s own heart looks to the eternal and obeys God.
Thursday, 8 December 2005
Samuel instructed the people to fear the Lord and serve Him with all their hearts. We have already seen that “heart service” is the kind of service that God expects from us.
How do we motivate ourselves to keep on serving? What do we do when we don’t see any “results” to speak of? What happens when things just seem to keep going wrong? How do we keep serving with all our hearts when our hearts are broken?
Samuel answers all of these questions with a very simple phrase – “Consider the great things God has done for you.” When we truly consider all that God has done for us we must stand in amazement and wonder. How God could take a vile, filthy, heel-bound sinner and create that man a new heart and a new man mystifies me. That the perfect sinless God of heaven would reach down in love to make me His own is a wonder. If this was “all” that God ever did for me it would make all of the service, with whatever trials it brings, worthwhile. He has made us His children. He has given us an eternal inheritance that cannot be taken away. He has made us joint heirs with His Son. He has given us an assured hope in a world that is without hope!
The next time you are tempted to despair or get discouraged pause and “consider the great things He has done for you!”
Wednesday, 7 December 2005
Samuel was nearing the end of his ministry when Saul became king. He reminded the people that they were going to suffer the consequences of demanding a king. However, he then reminded them that God would never forsake them. He also had a personal note. He was going to continue to pray for them. In fact he declared that it would be a sin for him not to do so. He asked God for help in insuring that he would not sin against God my not praying for the people.
How often do we take this attitude toward praying for others? Not only is it a sin not to pray for others, but also it is clearly declared as a sin against God to not pray for others. Do we see it as a sin to not pray for other people?
As we go through each day may we take the same attitude that Saul did – “God forbid (may it never be) that we should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for others.”
Tuesday, 6 December 2005
When Saul returned home from finding out that he was going to become king all he could talk about was the fact that Samuel had told him where to find the sheep. He didn’t mention his anointing, his change of heart, his creation as a new man, or the Holy Spirit coming to dwell in him.
Far too often God’s people are like Samuel. We will talk about anything except what God does for us. We will talk about all of the practical things that happened, but not about what God is doing in our lives. It is sad that those things are so often more important that what is happening to us spiritually.
Next time God is working in our lives and someone asks us how we are doing, may we have the courage to say more than – “Well, I found the donkeys!”
Monday, 5 December 2005
“And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.” – 1 Samuel 10v6
Saul knew that he was incapable of serving the Lord. Samuel told him that the day would come when the spirit of God would come upon him and make him into “another man.” Later in verse 9 we read that the Holy Spirit gave him a “new heart.”
From every indication here Saul was a saved man. Though he will not always walk with the Lord, at this time three things happened:
The Holy Spirit came upon him
He was turned into another man
He received a new heart
All three of these things should mark every believer. When we get saved the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in and with us. If any man be in Christ he is a new creature. Our hearts are changed to conform us to the image of Christ.
Saul did not always do so, but does my life daily reflect the fact that I have been turned into another man? Is my life so different so I appear to all that I am a whole different man that I was before I was saved.
Lord, remind me daily to live in such a way that I reflect the indwelling Holy Spirit, that fact that I am another man, and show the world that I have a new heart.
Sunday, 4 December 2005
Saul was busy trying to find his father’s lost donkeys. He decided to go see the Samuel in case he could tell where they were. However, Samuel had a different job in store for him.
Samuel told Saul that he was to be the new king of Israel. Saul seemed to shrug it off and go on his way saying that he was not qualified for such a task. Even when Samuel told him the donkeys had gone home, Saul could not be deterred from his task.
Finally, Samuel had to be very clear with Saul – “Stop and listen, let me show you the word of God.” Far too often we can be like Saul, so occupied with our daily chores that we don’t have time for God to talk to us.
Samuel’s words are a good reminder for each of us today – “Stand still a while, and listen to God’s word.”
Saturday, 3 December 2005
Do you remember telling your parents, or hearing from your children, “Everyone else gets to do it?” Man seems to always have a knack of comparing himself to others and being jealous of what they don’t have.
The people of Israel had the same problem. As they looked around they saw that all the other nations had kings. They felt “left out” because they were not content with the ruler God gave them. Even after Samuel told them all of the evil that would come upon them, they still demanded a king, so that they could be like everyone else.
I find myself in the same trap at times. When I get my focus off of the Lord and onto the world I can be tempted to want what others have. For some Christians this gets so strong that they are willing to sacrifice doing right and following the Lord just to be like the world.
The root problem is one that comes up over and over again – it is a lack of contentment. There is “great gain” in godliness with contentment. May we forget about what everybody else has and get on serving God with what He gives us.
Friday, 2 December 2005
As the years of Samuel’s judgeship passed the people became more and more discontent by his rule. When his sons grew up to not follow the Lord it gave them the excuse to demand a change so they went to Samuel and asked for a king.
Samuel was disturbed. He felt like they had rejected him personally. He went to God to ask for advice. “Listen to what the people say Samuel,” God said, “they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me and my rule over them.” Samuel could be assured that it was not a personal matter between the people and him. They were not really upset with Samuel, but with God’s plan for them.
God’s words to Samuel can be a great encouragement to us. There have been and will be times when we are going to feel rejected. When we truly take a stand for the Lord and speak His word, people are often going to reject our message. It is easy to take this personally and think that people have rejected us. We ought to keep these words in mind. If we are standing true to God and His Word, and people reject us, it is not us they are rejecting, but the Lord.
Thursday, 1 December 2005
Once the people had admitted and repented of their sins, Samuel became the leader of the land as their judge. The people gathered together to fast, and when the Philistines heard about them all being together they decided to attack. Samuel asked God for help and God delivered them.
When they saw that they had the victory Samuel set up a stone and called the place “Ebenezer.” The word means “stone of help” and referred to the fact that God had been their help in a time of conflict.
Samuel set a stone in place to remind the people of God’s great work. Whenever people saw that stone they could be reminded of what God had done for them. There is wisdom in us setting up a reminder when God does things for us. It is far to easy to see God work, rejoice for a moment, then forget. I think we would be wise to set up some type of “Ebenezer” when God does a work for us. Perhaps it would be a journal or prayer list where we can look back and be reminded of God’s great work.
Are there Ebenezers in your life that you can look back on when things get tough? The old hymn goes – “Here I raise my Ebenezer; Here by Thy great help I’ve come;” We are where we are today by the grace of God. Let us strive to remember that God is our stone of help and look to Him in times of need.