Wednesday, 30 June 2010


So David said to him, "Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father's sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually." – 2 Samuel 9v7

From the first time I heard the story of Mephibosheth I have loved it. It shows us just how deep David’s love for Saul family went. The whole idea flies in the face of what was ‘normal’ in that day and what is normal today. We pay back our enemies. They deserve it after all.

David had done could do to honour the memory of Saul and Jonathan. As king he now had control of all of Saul’s land, property, and resources. He could have kept that all as a sort of ‘spoils of war’ and no one would have faulted him. He had no moral, legal, or ethical burden to do anything else.

But he wasn’t happy with it. He asked if there were any of Saul’s descendents left alive. The servant Ziba told him of Mephibosheth, a son of Jonathan, who had been crippled since he took a fall as a five year old.

I wonder how Mephibosheth must have felt when he went to see the king. I think we have an indication by David’s first words when he came into the room – ‘Don’t be afraid.’ How surprised Meph (pardon the nickname) must have been when David told him, ‘I am going to show your kindness. I am going to give you all of Saul’s lands. You are going to be a part of my household.’

After years of suffering as a cripple fearing because of his ancestry Meph now had everything he could ask for.

I am touched by this because David did right when no one would have expected it if him. Sometimes we are tempted to only act is there is some type of moral or legal obligation to do so.

Maybe we need to be more concerned with just doing right no matter what the obligations.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Who am I?

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD; and he said: "Who am I, O Lord GOD? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord GOD; and You have also spoken of Your servant's house for a great while to come. Is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD? – 2 Samuel 7v18-19

Despite all that has happened David still had a proper view of man’s relationship to God. ‘Who am I that You have brought me this far?’ David asked.

It is difficult for us to really grasp this concept. Most of us have grown up hearing from society that we really are not that bad. We are okay. Society cannot accept the truth that man is really as bad as he is. Or, for that matter, that God is as awesome as He is.

‘Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin would look on me in love?’ These words from a Christian song express the feelings that David expressed above.

Who are we that God would even bother with us? We were rebels, enemies of God. We deserved no more than death, hell, and eternal punishment.

But God looked loved us while we were still sinners. He died for us in our sinful state.

We are nothing without God – nothing.

In Him we are everything!

Monday, 28 June 2010

My mercy shall not depart

I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. – 2 Samuel 7v14-15

It is a good thing for us that God’s justice and His mercy work together as evidenced here in David’s life.

God was committed to a Father/son relationship with David. If David sinned God’s justice required a chastening. But at the same time God also reminds us of His mercy – ‘My mercy shall not depart from him.’

I can’t even imagine our fate based only on God’s justice. There is nothing that any one of us can do to placate or satisfy His holy and perfect justice. If He required that from us we would be doomed.

Instead God gives us His mercy. He pictured that with David and fulfilled it in Christ. Once we are in Christ we too have a Father/son relationship. When we see Hebrews 12 tells us that God will chasten us as well. His chastening is not to punish us, for all the punishment was put on Christ. His chastening is a part of His mercy. His chastening in us is to produce the ‘peaceable fruit of righteousness.’

Praise God for the amazing way that His justice, His chastening, and His mercy work hand in hand for His children.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Time for God

Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies all around, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains." Then Nathan said to the king, "Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you." But it happened that night that the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying, "Go and tell My servant David, 'Thus says the LORD: "Would you build a house for Me to dwell in? – 2 Samuel 7v1-5

Finally, it was done. Peace had come to Israel. United under King David God’s people had their dwelling place.

But David was disturbed. He realised that he was living in this fancy cedar panelled house, but God was still living in a tent. Something had to be done to sort things out so David went to Nathan to ask him about building a house for God. Chapter seven is all about God’s response to that request and the eventual plans to build the temple.

David knew that it was not right that his house was fine and settled, but God’s work was not being done. Things are of course different today. God no longer dwells in a physical temple. Since Christ came God dwells in the hearts and lives of His people. Our physical bodies are called the ‘temple of God.’ The church is also referred to as the temple of God.

We don’t have a physical temple to build like David did. We have something so much more important. God dwells today in our hearts and in His church.

There is still a work to be done. It is wrong for us to focus on our own physical needs and desires when there is so much work to be done in His living temple.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

The Uzzah conundrum

And when they came to Nachon's threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God. And David became angry because of the LORD's outbreak against Uzzah; and he called the name of the place Perez Uzzah to this day. – 2 Samuel 6v6-8

The story of Uzzah and the ark has always bothered me a bit. I take some solace in the fact that the same thing that bothered me bothered King David.

Israel had retrieved the ark from the Philistines and were bringing it back home. These folks knew the word of God. They knew that there was only one way to transport it. It had to be carried on staves by priests. Caught up in the excitement of the moment they loaded the ark on a new oxcart. The formed a great triumphant procession to carry the ark back to Zion. It was a joyful time. They had a great musical procession and everything seemed perfect.

They soon came past a threshing floor. The oxen, perhaps distracted by the wheat, became anxious and the ark started to fall. A man named Uzzah did the natural thing; he reached out to keep it from falling. When he did God was angered and Uzzah dropped dead. We don’t know if the ark crushed him or God just struck him dead, but we do know he died.

It doesn’t really seem fair, does it? David thought the same thing. He was so displeased that he named the place The Breaking of Uzzah.

First, let me say that it is not up to us to determine God’s justice or to hold him to our standards. Saying that, there is a problem here and there is a lesson.

Though Uzzah was the one punished, the whole nation was at fault. They all knew there was one way to move the ark. They were so caught up in their excitement that they just decided to do it their own way. They had replaced God’s way with theirs. Doing that is never going to please God.

There is one more thing we can note. God sets a perfect standard. Perhaps this incident can remind us of the impossibility of keeping God’s rules perfectly. When we sin in the smallest part of the law we are guilty of violating the whole law. Even the smallest sin would be enough to condemn us. Praise God that in Christ we have hope that is otherwise impossible.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Seeking God’s way

So David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?" And the LORD said to David, "Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand." – 2 Samuel 5v19

Therefore David inquired of the LORD, and He said, "You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. – 2 Samuel 5v23

There are times in David’s life when he shows flashes of brilliance. There are aspects to his character that shine through. He was far from perfect, but God knew his heart and said that it was a heart like his own.

One thing that stuck out to me here is his reliance on God and his diligence in seeking God’s way. Within a few verses we see David consulting the Lord for direction and God giving different directions. Then we see, in both cases, David obeying.

I just have a quick lesson for us today. When we don’t know what to do we need to be willing to do what David did. Ask God for direction, seek His reply, and then follow Him.

Our biggest problems come when we think it is better to seek God’s forgiveness than His leadership.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

A lesson from Wimbledon

So David went on and became great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him. – 2 Samuel 5v10

It is interesting that I would come across this passage today. It is Wimbledon time. Currently two men are resting for the night. Their match was called off last night for darkness.

That may not seem so surprising, but it is the second night in a row that this match has been called for darkness. They have been playing for ten hours. They are in the fifth set and the score is tied at 59-59. Now remember, six games is usually enough to win a set. American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut have combined for 193 aces. As they walked off the court last night they were exhausted, but the game will go one. Neither is ready to give up. Mahut said last night, ‘‘Someone has to win. Everyone wants to see the end.’

Neither of these guys may ever win a major, but they will go down in history. They are plodders, they work hard. Neither is willing to quit.

I like plodders. I like the guys who just keep sticking with it no matter what. I don’t really have much use for flashes in the pan that shine for a moment then disappear. I’m not one for trends or momentary heroes. My heroes are those guys who just stick it out year after year after year,’ the guys who keep on keeping on.

David was one of those guys. Rebellions and civil war did not stop him. Tragedy did not stop him. Opposition did not stop him. David went on, and became great, and the Lord was with him.’

I can’t help but be reminded of ‘Don’t be weary in well doing, for in due season you will reap if you don’t quite.’ ‘Be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. You know your labour is not in vain in the Lord.’ ‘For this cause we faint not.’

Tired? Just carry on. Opposed? Just carry on. Discouraged? Just carry on.

We may not be great in the way David was, but our reward will be worth it all. Hey, somebody has to win. The nice thing is that we already have. All we have to do is hold on and wait to lift the trophy.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

David’s regard for right

And they brought the head of Ishbosheth to David at Hebron, and said to the king, "Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul your enemy, who sought your life; and the LORD has avenged my lord the king this day of Saul and his descendants." But David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, "As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from all adversity, when someone told me, saying, 'Look, Saul is dead,' thinking to have brought good news, I arrested him and had him executed in Ziklag—the one who thought I would give him a reward for his news. How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous person in his own house on his bed? Therefore, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and remove you from the earth?" – 1 Samuel 4v8-11

David had an eye and a heart for justice and just doing what is right. You would think they would have learned, but David’s men and those who wanted to curry favour with him by taking matters into their own hands.

Ishbosheth was the king of Israel. After the death of Abner David was trying to reconcile the two nations and to re-establish the united kingdom of Israel. Two of Ishbosheth’s own men decided that if they killed their king David would surely honour them in his new kingdom. They snuck in while Ishbosheth was asleep and killed him. They cut off his head and took it back to David.

I heard a podcast yesterday that reminded me of this incident. The podcast was about how warfare has changed in recent history with the ability to ‘take out’ enemy leaders in order to expedite a military objective.

It was thought provoking. Here it seems, like it did with Saul, would be thrilled that Ishbosheth’s men had taken out their leader and shortened the conflict.

But it wasn’t right. These men had snuck in and killed a man on his own bed. Enemy or not, this just wasn’t right. This was the world’s way. This was how man’s wisdom worked. God had a way to sort this out. David had these men executed for their crime, even though it helped him.

Man’s view of justice is not the same as God’s. May we all seek God’s way in dealing with our difficulties.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Tragedy and triumph

And when Joab had gone from David's presence, he sent messengers after Abner, who brought him back from the well of Sirah. But David did not know it. Now when Abner had returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him privately, and there stabbed him in the stomach, so that he died for the blood of Asahel his brother. 2 Samuel 3v26-27

This is a sad story. Abner was trying to get everything sorted for the nation. He had worked out a ceasefire and then tried to get the two sides of the nation to unite. He was on a peacekeeping mission to try and negotiate with Israel to see about reunifying the divided nation when Joab, one of David’s own men called him aside. Joab’s brother had been killed in a battle while Abner still fought for Israel. Joab could not forgive him and killed him.

Doing the right thing is not always going end up right. Sometimes those who do right suffer despite their actions. Abner was a great national hero who literally gave his life in an effort to unify his nation.

But it is not all tragedy. Abner’s death set in motion events that would lead to Israel accepting David as their king.

Tragedy is not always the end. Tragedy can result in triumph.

This reminds me on some ways of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Surely His death on the cross seemed to be a tragedy, but it resulted in reconciling lost men to a Holy God.

Praise God for Abner’s example. May we realise that tragedy is not always what it seems.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Now do it!

Now Abner had communicated with the elders of Israel, saying, "In time past you were seeking for David to be king over you. Now then, do it! For the LORD has spoken of David, saying, 'By the hand of My servant David, I will save My people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and the hand of all their enemies.' " - 2 Samuel 3v17-18

Good old Abner. He didn’t just talk Joab out of further conflict, but he went further to end the conflict in the nation. He knew that David was God’s choice to be king. Apparently everyone had agreed at one time, but Saul’s men had rebelled and refused to allow David to be king over the tribe of Benjamin and a few other regions. Abner had originally fought for Saul’s men and tried to negotiate a peace settlement, but no one listened to he deserted to King David’s side.

From his new position he continued to lobby for peace and unity. He reminded Israel that in the past they had acknowledged David’s right to be king. The answer was simple – ‘Now then, do it! Stop putting it off. God had already told us that David would be the one to deliver all of us from our enemies.’

Abner set out to go and carry out the task, to bring everyone into line. We will pick up that tragic story tomorrow.

There is a lesson here for us. Many times we have something that we know needs to be done. We are convinced, we know it is what God wants, but we just keep putting it off. Procrastination takes over and we never seem to get to it.

We would do well to heed Abner’s word. ‘Now then, do it!’

What do we need to do today?

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Shall the sword devour forever?

Then Abner called to Joab and said, "Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that it will be bitter in the latter end? How long will it be then until you tell the people to return from pursuing their brethren?" – 2 Samuel 2v26

Sometimes situations need a man like Abner. Things were a mess in Israel after the death of Saul and it looked like civil war might wreck the nation. David was king over Judah, but the other tribes, now united under the name Israel, were not going to accept him. Abner was leading the armies of Israel and Joab led the armies of Judah.

The fight was was hot and heavy. It was going to be a long war, but suddenly, for a brief moment, there was a voice of reason. Abner stepped to the fore and said, ‘Shall the sword devour forever?’ He knew that if this kept up the entire nation would develop into a bloody civil war. He saw that nothing would be gained through more bloodshed. It is obvious that Abner was not in favour of splitting the nation. Later on he defects to David’s.

The battles would continue, but all out civil war was averted by the wisdom and courage of one man. Abner shows us what one man can do. We don’t think about him very much. He is not a Bible All Star, but I admire him and his voice of reason.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Father and son

"Saul and Jonathan were beloved and pleasant in their lives, And in their death they were not divided; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions. 2 Samuel 1v23

Every so often we see things about David that remind us of the fact that he really is a man after God’s own heart.

Think about Saul and Jonathan. One was his greatest enemy and the other was his greatest friend. One loved him deeply and the other wanted him dead. One would do anything for him and the other would do anything to him.

Still at their death, David is able to praise them both. They were beloved and pleasant in their lives. They could not be divided in death. They were swifter than eagles. They were stronger than lions.

Some might say that David dishonoured his friend by classing him with his enemy Saul. In reality David was able to look past Saul’s attitude to him. He saw Saul as God’s chosen leader. Despite Saul’s personal animosity toward David, David saw him as beloved and pleasant, swift and strong. In David’s eyes they were both national heroes.

As Father’s Day approaches Sunday we see another key lesson here. Saul and Jonathan, father and son, David’s enemy and David’s friend, were not separated in death. They were still father and son. That relationship could not be affected even with their differences. Even when Saul tried to kill his best friend Jonathan would not forsake his father.

I love this picture of father and son. Most of my sons have grown into adulthood. We do not always agree. We take different paths and make different choices. By the grace of God may it be said at the end of our days that even death could not separate us.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

I am distressed for you my brother

Special thanks to feesher for finding my mistake earlier.

I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me; Your love to me was wonderful, Surpassing the love of women. – 2 Samuel 1v26

This is probably the last post of David’s and Jonathan’s friendship. I love the imagery here to describe what true friendship is. They were beloved and pleasant in their lives. Their love in some ways that I mentioned earlier even surpassed the love of women.

True friendship can be a lot like marriage. You choose to love your friend for better or worse. You choose to love a friend through highs and lows and up and downs and good times and struggles. You choose to love your friend no matter what.

I think of the lifelong friends I have. Many of them I have only recently reconnected with through Facebook. Those friendships have simply picked up where they left off. I feel as close to these friends as I did when we saw each other face to face. I recently saw and old friend who I had not seen in many years. What a blessing to not skip a beat in our friendship.

I hope that we don’t take our friends for granted. I hope that we don’t let them slip. If there are friendships that have shifted to the sideline perhaps today would be a good day to look them up and pick up again. In that regard I praise God for the technology that makes that possible.

Let us treasure the marvellous gift of friendship.

In death they were not separated

"Saul and Jonathan were beloved and pleasant in their lives, And in their death they were not divided; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions. 2 Samuel 1v23

This is probably the last post of David’s and Jonathan’s friendship. I love the imagery here to describe what true friendship is. They were beloved and pleasant in their lives. They were not divided by death. They were swifter than eagles and stronger than lions.

True friendship can be a lot like marriage. You choose to love your friend for better or worse. You choose to love a friend through highs and lows and up and downs and good times and struggles. You choose to love your friend no matter what.

I think of the lifelong friends I have. Many of them I have only recently reconnected with through Facebook. Those friendships have simply picked up where they left off. I feel as close to these friends as I did when we saw each other face to face. I recently saw and old friend who I had not seen in many years. What a blessing to not skip a beat in our friendship.

I hope that we don’t take our friends for granted. I hope that we don’t let them slip. If there are friendships that have shifted to the sideline perhaps today would be a good day to look them up and pick up again. In that regard I praise God for the technology that makes that possible.

Friendship is the gift that make us swifter than eagles and stronger than lions. Lets treasure that marvellous gift.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

David lamented

Then David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son, and he told them to teach the children of Judah the Song of the Bow; indeed it is written in the Book of Jasher: "The beauty of Israel is slain on your high places! How the mighty have fallen! 2 Samuel 1v17-19

David lamented when his enemy was dead. This, in modern terminology, ‘blows my mind.’ You would think, at least, that he would be quietly relieved at Saul’s death. Of course, he could not publicly rejoice. He had to play the political game. He still had Saul’s men to deal with. But you would think when their backs were turned, there would be a quiet little fist pump and an exultant ‘YES!’

But David lamented with a marvellous lamentation. Just before this a man had come to him telling him that he had killed Saul. He surely expected a reward. Saul had committed suicide, but that was no reason to miss a chance at a reward from the new king!

He received his just reward – ‘Who are you to touch God’s anointed?’ and then he was killed for his treason.

I hear a lot of harsh criticism about leaders. I heard one crackpot preacher, claiming to be a Baptist, tell the news that he was praying that President Obama would die a painful death then burn in hell. Amazing stuff, huh?

While most would not got that far I am pretty sure that there are those who claim to be God’s children who would not lament should their national leaders die unexpectedly.

I know it is getting old, but I think that we need to rethink our attitude to our leaders, even when our leaders make themselves our enemy.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Saul was dead

And when his armorbearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword, and died with him. So Saul, his three sons, his armorbearer, and all his men died together that same day. 1 Samuel 31v4-6

Saul is one of those really sad stories. He was God chosen man to be the king of Israel. His son Jonathan would have been next in line. The family was full of hope and promise.

And yet somewhere along the way it all fell apart. Saul had an angry temperament. He was rash and impulsive. He acted before he thought. He often regretted what he had done in haste. Those who study such things would call him a textbook choleric.

I understand that. I can often act impulsively and rashly instead of wisely and patiently. Then I regret my decisions and choices and have to go back and apologise or try to clean up my mess.

Eventually Saul’s nature cost him everything. He couldn’t wait for Samuel to arrive to he took over the priest’s duties and lost the kingdom. His obsession for dealing with David took over and eventually cost him his life and the lives of his family.

Saul is a picture of what happens when we walk after our flesh instead of after the Spirit.

Tragedy. This story makes me sad, but it also alerts me to the dangers of my own frailties.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Distress and strength

Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. – 1 Samuel 30v6

What do we do in distress? Stress is, of course, a great killer. It will destroy our health and well being. Most of us don’t handle stress very well. Sometimes it can be overwhelming and all consuming. It can be pressing and choking. It can cause us to lose sleep. It makes us short and snappy with others. When stress controls us we really are a mess!

David was distressed. I wonder why. The king and his army were chasing him all over the land and now the people were talking about stoning him.

Can you imagine trying to sleep in that situation? It was somewhere along the way here that David wrote Psalm 3. In this psalm David ‘Strengthened himself in the Lord his God.’ Look at these marvellous words.

LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, "There is no help for him in God." Selah But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me all around. Arise, O LORD; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongs to the LORD. Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah

I love this psalm and its neighbour Psalm 4. I often run to them in my own times of distress. David found all the strength he needed in the Lord.

Surely, if David could find his strength for his distress we can do the same in ours. ‘Many are they who rise up against me?’ There is one answer – ‘I cried to the Lord, and He heard me.’

Sunday, 13 June 2010

The result of trusting God

Then he said to David:"You are more righteous than I; for you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil. And you have shown this day how you have dealt well with me; for when the LORD delivered me into your hand, you did not kill me. – 1 Samuel 24v17-18

What can be the result of trusting God to do the right thing when living under persecution and oppression from those in authority?

In this instance Saul had to acknowledge that David was the better man. ‘You are more righteous than I am. You have rewarded my evil with your good.’

We can get so tied up in trying to sort things out our way that we can forget that there is a God in control of the whole situation. We forget that He can do a much better job than we can. We are so focused on what we perceive to be our rights and liberties that we forget the possible eternal consequences of those things in our lives.

Like David the church has often found itself opposed by those in authority. This pattern was set early on. From nearly the very beginning governing authorities have sought to silence God’s people.

What happens when we choice to trust and obey instead of complain and rebel?

The early church gives us an example. It took a while, but eventually Rome could no longer argue with the Christians. The Christians won. By the fourth century not only had Rome given them freedom to worship, but the authorities even officially asked the Christians to pray for them.

Will Durant writes of the believers in ‘Caesar and Christ: A History of Roman Civilization and of Christianity from their Beginnings to A.D. 325’

“There is no greater drama in human record than the sight of a few Christians, scorned or oppressed by…emperors, bearing all trials with a fiery tenacity, multiplying quietly, building order while their enemies generated chaos, fighting the sword with the word, brutality with hope, and at long last defeating the strongest state that history has ever known. Caesar and Christ had met in the arena and Christ had won.”

What will be said of Christians today should this old world be here for another two thousand years?

Saturday, 12 June 2010

God will sort it out

Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it. Let the LORD judge between you and me, and let the LORD avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you. – 1 Samuel 24v11-12

There is a lot of talk going on at the moment amongst American Christians about the current political climate. Folks are not happy with the way things are going. Christians are an integral part of the Tea Party movement. At most of their rallies you will see posters and slogans that mixing faith and politics. There is even growing discussion, even among believers, of a second American Revolution. Disparaging remarks, silly aspersions, and childish name cling are some of the ways that God’s people are dealing with the present administration.

This concerns me because I find that so much that happens in the American church quickly spreads to the rest of the world.

As I compare this attitude to scripture, trying to lay aside by prejudices and bias I have a hard time reconciling it with what we find in the word of God. Here, for example, we have David. He was constantly under a death threat by the king. He was running scared. He was constantly being hunted down. It appears that God had sorted it out by giving David a chance to kill Saul. David couldn’t do it. All he could do was to cut off a piece of Saul’s robe.

What was David’s attitude regarding the entire matter? ‘Let the Lord deal with it. I will not raise my hand against you.’

David had a kind of faith that too many of us lack. He had the kind of faith that said that he did not have to conform to the world’s way of dealing with authority. He had the kind of faith that says. ‘The Lord will sort it out.’

Where is that kind of faith in the church today?

Friday, 11 June 2010

David’s heart was troubled

Then the men of David said to him, "This is the day of which the LORD said to you, 'Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.' "And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul's robe. Now it happened afterward that David's heart troubled him because he had cut Saul's robe. – 1 Samuel 24v4-5

David had his chance. His men found Saul asleep in a cave so David made his way to the cave. He drew his sword. No was the time. Surely God had answered his prayer and given him an opportunity to deal with his enemy.

But David didn’t do it. He drew his sword and cut off a corner of the king’s robes. Even though his life was in danger and Saul had mustered an army to kill him David just could not kill the king.

What I find amazing is that not only could he not kill the king, he felt guilty for even touching him.

My thoughts on dealing with authorities is changing even more. You can’t escape that fact in even a cursory study of the Bible. How could anyone have blamed David if he killed Saul when he had the chance? David’s heart was smitten with grief for even attacking the king by cutting off a corner of his robe.

It certainly appears that we err when we show any kind of disrespect against those in authority.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

David inquired of the Lord

Then they told David, saying, "Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and they are robbing the threshing floors." Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I go and attack these Philistines?" And the LORD said to David, "Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah." But David's men said to him, "Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?" Then David inquired of the LORD once again. And the LORD answered him and said, "Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand."- 1 Samuel 23v1-4

David was not acting like a man after God’s own heart. He was not acting like the same guy who killed a lion and a bear and who stood up to Goliath. He was a man controlled by fear as he ran from Saul. In the previous chapters he was running, acting like a mad man, and hiding in caves all because he was afraid of the king.

Interesting. I don’t know how David allowed himself to get here. I think we have a clue though in what happens in chapter 23. The army had been afraid of fighting Saul. Now, David has a notion that they should go and fight the Philistines. The Philistines were looting the crops in Keilah so David did the right thing; he went and asked the Lord what to do. God told him to go ahead and fight the Philistines. When David went to his men they were amazed! ‘If we are afraid of Saul why are we going to fight the mighty Philistines?’

David wasn’t sure, so he went and asked the Lord again. God told him the same thing, ‘Go and fight them, and I will give you the victory.’

As I look at this now I wonder about David’s fear of fighting Saul. Tomorrow’s thought is part of the reason I wonder. Could it be that David was fearful of fighting God’s ordained leader because he was God’s ordained leader?

More anon.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Saul was more afraid

Thus Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal, Saul's daughter, loved him; and Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul became David's enemy continually. - 1 Samuel 18v28-29

First of all Saul was afraid because David walked wisely. But there was something that made him even more afraid. This knowledge, combined with his daughter’s love for David made him David’s permanent enemy.

What was it that Saul saw in David that made him afraid? ‘Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David.’

It is amazing how often we think that our power and deliverance and success comes from our own abilities. Only one thing is going to have an impact on those around us, as they realise that God is with us.

Not that we desire enemies, but I wonder how often even those who disagree with us know that God is with us? Do people have any idea that we belong to Him and that He is walking by our sides?

Wisdom and the fear of the Lord go hand in hand. May we reflect the presence of God in our lives to those around us so that they know that He is with us.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

David behaved wisely

And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the LORD was with him. - 1 Samuel 18v14

Sometimes it is the most simple things in the word of God that make the biggest impressions. David was obviously rising through the ranks. His victory over Goliath and his military victories made him a national war hero with all of the honours and accolades that brings. People were praising him above Saul and Saul was becoming jealous.

David could have been lifted up with all that praise. He could have made the mistake to think that all the things the people said about him were true. He could have started thinking that he was indeed pretty special.

But he didn’t. David behaved wisely in all his ways. The importance of walking wisely applies to all of God’s people for all time. True wisdom is from God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. No one can argue with wisdom walking. David’s walk is what made Saul afraid.

Our walk should not be marked by involvement in worldly foolishness. Walking foolishly gives the world cause to mock us and belittle us and they are justified in doing so.

It is when we walk in godly wisdom that we have an impact and an influence. Lets walk so that people will say of us that we behaved wisely.

Monday, 7 June 2010


Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father's house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. – 1 Samuel 18v1-3

In it hard to imagine that we could live in a world that has so little regard for God and his word that they could corrupt one of the most precious relationships in the Bible. David and Jonathan were the dearest and most precious of friends. In one place David tells Jonathan that the love between them surpassed even the love of women.

It is sad that even reading about love between two men gives is a feeling of discomfort. It is so bad that Christian men can have a hard time saying, ‘I love you’ to each other. Tragically we have the perversity of a sick, dark, and perverted world to determine of view of love.

I love my brothers in Christ. I love having men that I can cry and rejoice with and with whom I can share my victories and failures. I love having men who I can talk to who can understand the struggles that men go through. Brotherly love is so precious. David and Jonathan loved each other even more than their own flesh. That relationship has endured through the ages as a perfect example of friendship.

Fellas, maybe it is time that we shake off the fear of what the world might say and let our brothers in Christ know that we love them. How hard can it be to say, ‘I love you brother?’

Sunday, 6 June 2010

So David prevailed

So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. - 1 Samuel 17v50

Of all the Bible stories known around the world the story of David and Goliath is one of those that has stood the test of time. Most of the world knows the story of the young guy who, despite insurmountable odds, overcame the giant. When we first visited Ireland some new beer was coming in and they used the imagery of taking on the long established giants with a billboard of David and Goliath. The theme runs through a multitude of films and literature. Everybody likes the underdog and here is the perfect picture of when the underdog wins.

‘So David prevailed.’ What a wonderful way to end the account. David, with nothing more than a sling and a stone struck the Philistine and killed him. There is no way that David should have won the fight. Everyone knew it. His brothers mocked him, the army taunted him, the king said it couldn’t happen, and the giant laughed at him. I think I might have quit pretty early on, but David kept at it.

‘So David prevailed.’ What a testimony. Even though the world for the most part has forgotten the reason for the victory they still know, some 3000 years later, that David prevailed.

What a testimony it would be, if, when my time to go home arrives, people could say of me ‘So Roger prevailed.’ What a legacy to leave for those to come.

Oh God, may it one day be said of me – ‘So Roger prevailed.’

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Carpe diem

So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. – 1 Samuel 17v48-49

There is so much about David’s character in this story that blesses, challenges, and convicts me. Even after all that we have seen already, there are a couple more things that we can note.

The time for the battle had come. Goliath came to the hill like he had for forty plus days to call out a challenger. When he saw Goliath he mocked him. He accused David of coming to get him like he would a lost dog. David had already sought council, he had made a decision, he prepared, he gave God credit for the victory that was about to take place. David had laid it on the line. He had made it clear that the victory was not going to be his in any regard, but God’s alone.

Anyway, Goliath moved forward to deal with this little pest. Surely this kid would be quickly eliminated. He was used to the army running when he challenged. Today would be no different.

How surprised he must have been when David came rushing at him! Before he could respond David had a stone in his shepherds sling and it was on its way. Goliath had no time to respond and the stone hit him in his forehead and killed him!

What I like though is David’s attitude. Once the decision was made and preparations done he did not hesitate. Carpe diem was his motto when it came to this fight.

One of my greatest struggles is procrastination, especially from an unpleasant task. I prefer carpe tomorrowem. I know that is not Latin, but it makes my point. David ran to the battle, I might not run, but I am tempted to put it off a little longer.

No matter what the nature of our giants, now is the time to deal with them. The more we put it off the harder the fight.

Carpe diem – seize the day.

Friday, 4 June 2010

That all the earth may know

This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. – 1 Samuel 17v46

There are many reasons that we have to face the giants of our lives. Sometimes it is for us to learn lessons. Sometimes is it to build our faith. Sometimes we bring on our own giants by our foolish decisions or mistakes. No matter what though there is a result that should be our goal no matter what the reason.

All we do is to be for the glory of God. When we consider all that He has done for us that should be our motivating factor. That desire should be at the forefront of our every waking thought. Therefore, when we look at the face of the giants we come up against the major part of our motivation is to give God the glory, or, in David’s words, ‘that all the earth may know that there is a God…’

My problem is that whenever I face a giant I am far to tempted to think about how the battle with the giant is going to impact me. Really, that is the problem with most of my problems.

Every giant we encounter is a chance for us to show our friends, neighbours, co-workers, family, and associates that there is a God at work in our lives.

What giant are you facing today? Is he big and intimidating and scary? How do you see that battle? Do you see yourself being squashed in the fight, or do you see the fight as a chance to show everyone watching that there is a God at work in your life?

Thursday, 3 June 2010

I come in the name of the Lord

Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. – 1 Samuel 17v45

There are times when serving the Lord can seem as hard and intimidating as standing up to that giant. The giants can seem so big and strong and intimidating and daunting that if we get our eyes off the Lord we can be cowed by them.

Every so often I can allow myself to focus on the giants instead of the one I am serving. There are, to be honest, plenty of giants to deal with. We do live in an apathetic, materialistic, and worldly society where making room for the things is the furthest thing from the mind of many. Even we as Christians can get caught up in that kind of attitude.

The world seems to have all the resources and all the strength. When I look at that I can become convinced that we are in a losing battle.

But that is not our focus. As the world has it strength today Goliath had his sword and spear and javelin. If David had focused on that he would have run in fear with the rest of the army. But David was different. He knew who was on his side.

‘I come in the name of the Lord of hosts!’

If I could only remember that as I face every day. If I could only remember that in those sleepless hours in the middle of the night. In fact, I would be happy if I could just remember that as I face today.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Using what you have

Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine. – 1 Samuel 17v40

I preached on this passage not too long ago and first time I wondered what Saul was up to when he offered David his armour. I wonder if this was the first step in what was going to be a long term conflict between then.

No one was willing to fight the giant except David so he was sent to the king to plead his case. Saul told him he was too young and inexperienced to do it. Still David persisted, so Saul dressed the lad in his own armour. Now remember, Saul was a tall man, head and shoulders above all the rest of the men. Why would he put armour on David that he knew would not fit. Was he mocking him or just trying to teach him how silly it was to think he could deal with giant. Either way it was quickly obvious that this was not going to work.

So David laid all that aside. He took his shepherds staff, five stones in a bag, and his sling and went out to face Goliath.

It certainly did not look like a fair match, but there is a lesson here. David used the things that he was used to. He used the tools and the talents that he was familiar with. It did not suit him to do it any other way.

There are plenty of Christian ‘superstars’ out there. We can look at them and think that if we do things just like they do we will surely succeed like them. We read their books, watch their videos, go to their seminars, and try to do things just like them. Some parts of the Body try to produce cookie cutter Christians so everyone does it just the right way. Conformity to the chosen way seems to be the goal of many.

In reality we all have tools and skills that God gives us. We don’t have to do it someone else’s way. Like David we need to use what we know to serve Him.

Lets develop our own skill and abilities and use the tools God gives is as we head out to face our giants today.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

You’re just a kid!

Then David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth." – 1 Samuel 17v32-33

There are always obstacles when we decide to serve the Lord. Among those obstacles can me doubters and naysayers who are going to tell us that it just cannot be done, and even if it could, we are not the ones to do it.

No one was going to fight Goliath, that much was clear. Still, it was a job that had to be done. David, the ruddy youth fresh from his father’s sheep herds, was ready to step up to the task but had to go to the king first. Was the king glad to have a volunteer? ‘You can’t fight this guy! You’re just a kid and he has been fighting his whole life!’

The sceptical king would not deter David, but more on that anon. For now let us be encouraged that cynicism regarding things we want to do is nothing new. Someone is always going to tell us that it cannot be done. While we need to seek wise counsel, prayer, and advice before we act, we cannot be put off by those who simply say that we can’t do it.

The truth is, we can’t do it any more than David in his own power could go up against the giant. The greater truth is that God can.