Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pleasing Meditation

April 30: Psalms 102-104

6 I am like a desert owl of the wilderness,
like an owl of the waste places;
7 I lie awake;
I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.
Psalm 102:6-7

10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103:10-14

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works,
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke!
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more!
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 104:31-35

Pleasing Meditation

As I read through these three Psalms today, I did not necessarily see a common thread, so I decided to pull a thought from each Psalm. Then, when I looked at the end result shown above, I realized that there is a remarkable progression from being in despair of one's life to giving praise to the Lord. The Psalms, written so long ago, are amazingly relevant to our daily lives.

It is not hard to identify with Psalm 104, is it not? How often do we feel alone in our own little world--no one understands us or can comprehend our troubles? Though we know that, as Christians, we should not worry, it is so much a part of our nature that we often find ourselves at exactly the same point as the Psalmist.

David expresses thoughts in Psalm 103 that we often forget, and yet, if we are truly to understand our relationship to the Lord, we should ponder who we really are and what we really deserve. Do we really deserve the grace God grants to His children? How could we ever approach God apart from the removal of our sins through Christ?

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Does the east ever meet the west? That is how far He has moved our sins from us. Now there is a pleasing meditation for this day! Our only response is found in Psalm 104,

33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord. . . .


35 . . . Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!


This makes me think of a phrase in a familiar song,

But when I sing salvation's story,
they will fold their wings.
For angels never felt the joy,
that our salvation brings.

Amen, so let it be.

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scripture is from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Death of Saul

April 29: 1 Chronicles 7-10

1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. 3 The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was wounded by the archers. 4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and mistreat me.” But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. 5 And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died. 6 Thus Saul died; he and his three sons and all his house died together. 7 And when all the men of Israel who were in the valley saw that the army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their cities and fled, and the Philistines came and lived in them.

8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 And they stripped him and took his head and his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to carry the good news to their idols and to the people. 10 And they put his armor in the temple of their gods and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon. 11 But when all Jabesh-gilead heard all that the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose and took away the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons, and brought them to Jabesh. And they buried their bones under the oak in Jabesh and fasted seven days.

13 So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. 14 He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.
1 Chronicles 10:1-14

Death of Saul

1 Chronicles 10 is an almost verbatim repetition of 1 Samuel 31, with a few wording changes in verse 12, except for the last two verses which do not appear in 1 Samuel 31. One of the benefits of reading through the Bible chronologically is that it is easier to see discrepancies and to question what is different.

In this case, the last two verses of 1 Chronicles 10 give us an important conclusion regarding the life of Saul. We are told,

So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.

Just four sentences that speak volumes! We would do well to consider these sobering words. Saul lost his kingdom and died for his breach of faith because he did not seek guidance from the Lord.

Where do we go to receive guidance? Do we often find ourselves acting just like Saul? Remember the time Saul was waiting upon the Lord for guidance regarding a battle with the Philistines? Samuel did not come at the appointed time, so Saul gave up waiting and burned the sacrifice himself. That was the turning point; that was the point in which Saul no longer waited upon the Lord, but rather took matters into his own hands.

What were Samuel's words to Saul?

13And Samuel said to Saul, "You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the LORD your God, with which he commanded you. For then the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you."
1 Samuel 13:13-14

Let the death of Saul be a sobering reminder to us, that no matter what our circumstances, we need to wait upon the Lord to direct our steps.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Psalm 27:14, King James Version

God Bless You,
Linda

Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Robed in Majesty

April 28: Psalms 81, 88, & 92-93

1 Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
2 Raise a song; sound the tambourine,
the sweet lyre with the harp.
Psalm 81:1-2

13 But I, O Lord, cry to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 O Lord, why do you cast my soul away?
Why do you hide your face from me?
15 Afflicted and close to death from my youth up,
I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
Psalm 88:13-15

12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
15 to declare that the Lord is upright;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
Psalm 92:12-15

1 The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
2 Your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting.
Psalm 93:1-2

Robed in Majesty

When I did a series of devotions on the Psalms, I surprised to note how many Psalms were written when the Psalmist was greatly discouraged--I had thought that most of the Psalms were Psalms of praise. While it is true that there are many Psalms of praise, the Psalms devote themselves to real life experiences. Because our lives are filled with troubles as well as joys, the Psalmist often writes when discouraged and oppressed.

Psalm 88 is such a Psalm; yet, in today's reading it is surrounded by Psalms of praise as well.

Psalm 81 encourages us to,

Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob!


Perhaps because I am getting older I note such things more quickly, but did you notice the reference to age in Psalm 92?

14 They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
15 to declare that the Lord is upright;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him
.


Think about that for a minute; we tend to put our selves on a shelf when we reach retirement age. The Bible, however, does not view old age in that way; as Christians, we bear fruit until the day we die. That is really amazing, is it not? No matter where we are, no matter what our circumstances, we Christians are fruit-bearers.

Today's reading closes with Psalm 93.

1 The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
2 Your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting
.


Therein lies our true hope and joy! Our Lord is robed in majesty, He has established the world so that it will never be moved, and He is from everlasting. What a great word of encouragement as we start a new day. We can not fail! Our God reigns supreme in eternal righteousness and majesty.

Amen, so let it be!

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Descendants of Levi

April 27: 1 Chronicles 6

31 These are the men whom David put in charge of the service of song in the house of the Lord after the ark rested there. 32 They ministered with song before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting until Solomon built the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they performed their service according to their order. 33 33 These are the men who served and their sons. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman the singer the son of Joel, son of Samuel, 34 son of Elkanah . . .

48 And their brothers the Levites were appointed for all the service of the tabernacle of the house of God.

49 But Aaron and his sons made offerings on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense for all the work of the Most Holy Place, and to make atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded. 50 These are the sons of Aaron: Eleazar his son, Phinehas his son, Abishua his son, 51 Bukki his son, Uzzi his son, Zerahiah his son, 52 Meraioth his son, Amariah his son, Ahitub his son, 53 Zadok his son, Ahimaaz his son.
Chronicles 6:31-34a & 48-53

Descendants of Levi

The entire chapter of 1 Chronicles 6 is dedicated to the descendants of Levi. There are several names, especially in the beginning verses when the sons of Aaron and his descendants are listed. As you read through the list, you will see some of the priests mentioned during David's reign.

I found it interesting to note that Samuel descended from the line of Kohath, the son of Levi.

These are the men whom David put in charge of the service of song in the house of the Lord after the ark rested there. They ministered with song before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting until Solomon built the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they performed their service according to their order.

Samuel, then, was not of the line of the priests, but rather a Levite of the line of Kohath, who were those in charge of the ministry of song. Is the ministry of song important in our churches? It is so important that the descendants of one of the sons of Levi were given this responsibility.

I also noted, that not all names are listed in the genealogy; for example, I did not see the name of Eli.

Why God chose the names He did, while excluding others is not known, but this is also true of other genealogies listed in the Bible. That is why there sometimes appears to be a discrepancy between one list and another.

What about your genealogy? As you look back upon your ancestors, do you see a solid line of believers? That would be rare, indeed. Just as we see in the history of the Israelites the tendency to be close to the Lord and then fall away, we will probably see the same characteristics in our own genealogies.

What an amazing God we have! If you, like me, have children who are not following the Lord, there are two things I would offer in encouragement. First of all, never cease to pray for them; we can not see into the future, only God knows what lies ahead. Secondly, if they never come to the Lord, that does not mean that their descendants will all be unbelievers.

We are told in Matthew 5:16, Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

As we give glory to God, it is He that will give the increase.

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Will Remember

April 26: Psalms 73 & 77-78

21 When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.

23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:21-26

7 “Will the Lord spurn forever
,and never again be favorable?
8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah

10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”

11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
Psalm 77:7-13

67 He rejected the tent of Joseph;
he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,
68 but he chose the tribe of Judah,
Mount Zion, which he loves.
69 He built his sanctuary like the high heavens,
like the earth, which he has founded forever.
70 He chose David his servant
and took him from the sheepfolds;
71 from following the nursing ewes he brought him
to shepherd Jacob his people,Israel his inheritance.
72 With upright heart he shepherded them
and guided them with his skillful hand.
Psalm 78:67-72

I Will Remember

What will you remember? When the world seems to come crashing down around you and God is nowhere to be found, what will you remember?


That is exactly where we find the Psalmist in today's reading. It is easy sometimes to look around us and say, why do the wicked have it so easy? They are not troubled by their sins, and the world just flocks around them. That is what Asaph questioned in Psalm 73; it is in this Psalm where he writes those beautiful words,


16 But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.

Psalm 78 recounts the dismal history of the Israelites from the time they left Egypt until the time of David. Time after time they seek God, and then fall away, a pattern which, unfortunately, we see repeated all too often in our day. This Psalm ends with,


70 He chose David his servant
and took him from the sheepfolds;
71 from following the nursing ewes he brought him
to shepherd Jacob his people,Israel his inheritance.
72 With upright heart he shepherded them
and guided them with his skillful hand
.


There it is again, David, the shepherd boy, was chosen to lead the Israelites; with upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.


It always comes back to the heart, does it not? How do we resist the temptations of the world? How do we remember the deeds of the Lord in the midst of our difficulties? It comes down to the heart? Being a Christian is not an outward experience, though outwardly we do change. No, Christianity is an inward experience of the heart. Only Christ can change our hearts through the blood He shed on the cross. Only He can bring peace between us and a holy, righteous God.


What about you? Are you entangled in the world, filled with bitterness toward those around you? Turn to Christ! Then you, too, may say with the Psalmist, Asaph, I Will Remember!

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Interludes

April 25: 1 Chronicles 3-5

9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10

18 The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had valiant men who carried shield and sword, and drew the bow, expert in war, 44,760, able to go to war. 19 They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. 20 And when they prevailed over them, the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands, for they cried out to God in the battle, and he granted their urgent plea because they trusted in him. 21 They carried off their livestock: 50,000 of their camels, 250,000 sheep, 2,000 donkeys, and 100,000 men alive. 22 For many fell, because the war was of God. And they lived in their place until the exile.

23 The members of the half-tribe of Manasseh lived in the land. They were very numerous from Bashan to Baal-hermon, Senir, and Mount Hermon. 24 These were the heads of their fathers' houses: Epher, Ishi, Eliel, Azriel, Jeremiah, Hodaviah, and Jahdiel, mighty warriors, famous men, heads of their fathers' houses. 25 But they broke faith with the God of their fathers, and whored after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. 26 So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, the spirit of Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and he took them into exile, namely, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan, to this day.
1 Chronicles 5:18-26

Interludes

I remember hesitating when I thought of writing a daily Bible devotional based upon a chronological reading of the Bible. What am I going to do when I get to chapters that just give genealogies? Oh, me of little faith!

Today is one such day! But, right in the middle of the genealogical records are some rather interesting interludes. I have included two of them from today's reading. In both cases we see God's hand in response to cries for help. Most are familiar with the prayer of Jabez, from 1 Chronicles 4:9-10; God granted his prayer of faith.

Now, look at 1 Chronicles 5:18-26, regarding the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. In verses 18-22 we are told of their amazing victory over the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. The key to their victory is found in verse 20,


And when they prevailed over them, the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands, for they cried out to God in the battle, and he granted their urgent plea because they trusted in him.

What a sad epitaph to read in verses 23-26, of these same people. When they broke faith with God they were taken into exile by the King of Assyria.

What do these interludes teach us today? As individuals and as nations, when we cry out to God in true faith, He hears and answers our prayers. That does not mean, however, He will not chastise us if we fall away from Him.

Pray today that God will grant you faithfulness to Him, that no matter what the circumstances around you may be, you will bow before Him alone, and not go after the gods of those around you.

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Contrasts

April 24: Psalms 43-45, 49, 83-85, & 87

1 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
against an ungodly people,
from the deceitful and unjust man
deliver me!
Psalm 43:1

13 This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah
14 Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
death shall be their shepherd.
Psalm 49:13-14

6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.
The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness.
Psalm 45:6

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
Psalm 84:1-2

1 On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
2 the Lord loves the gates of Zion
more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.
3 Glorious things of you are spoken,
O city of God.
Psalm 87:1-3

Contrasts

There are only two roads! One leads to death, and the other leads to life everlasting. As we do in today's reading, we often see the contrasts between the two laid out in the Psalms.

It should be simple, should it not? As a Christian, however, we are often buffeted between the two. Though we know the way of the wicked, we are often compelled to look their way with longing. At other times, though we trust in God, He seems far away. The Psalmist expressed it this way in Psalm 44:23-24,

Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord?
Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever!
Why do you hide your face?
Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?

What are we to do on days like this? What do you notice in the portions of Psalms 84 & 87 shown above? The Psalmist turned his eyes heavenward!

That is the key, is it not? Pray today that God would fill you with His presence today that your eyes may be drawn to heaven and not on the things of this earth.

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Genealogy of David

April 23: I Chronicles 1 & 2

1 Adam, Seth, Enosh; 2 Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared; 3 Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech; 4 Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

24 Shem, Arpachshad, Shelah; 25 Eber, Peleg, Reu; 26 Serug, Nahor, Terah; 27 Abram, that is, Abraham.

34 Abraham fathered Isaac. The sons of Isaac: Esau and Israel.
1 Chronicles 1:1-5, 24, & 34

1 These are the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, 2 Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 3 The sons of Judah: Er, Onan and Shelah. . . .

4 His daughter-in-law Tamar also bore him Perez and Zerah.

5 The sons of Perez: Hezron and Hamul.

9 The sons of Hezron that were born to him: Jerahmeel, Ram, and Chelubai. 10 Ram fathered Amminadab, and Amminadab fathered Nahshon, prince of the sons of Judah. 11 Nahshon fathered Salmon, Salmon fathered Boaz, 12 Boaz fathered Obed, Obed fathered Jesse. 13 Jesse fathered Eliab his firstborn, Abinadab the second, Shimea the third, 14 Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, 15 Ozem the sixth, David the seventh. 16 And their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. The sons of Zeruiah: Abishai, Joab, and Asahel, three. 17 Abigail bore Amasa, and the father of Amasa was Jether the Ishmaelite.
1 Chronicles 2:1-3a, 4-5, & 9-17

Genealogy of David

Have you ever been to a family reunion of your in-laws? By the time you are introduced to the first 4 or 5 relatives, your head is already spinning.

"Let's see," your spouse explains, "George is the wife of Jane, who is the sister of Paul, who is my grandfather. Of course Jane was really only a half-sister because Paul's Mom was his second wife." It kind of reminds me of the funny story called, "Whose on first." If you have not heard it, look it up on the internet.

Genealogies do have their importance; as a matter of fact, they are so important that God used the first 6 1/2 chapters of the book of 1 Chronicles for genealogies of the children of Israel. I just showed the highlights above, tracing David's genealogy all the way from Adam. This, of course, is also the genealogy of Christ, because Mary and Joseph were both descendents of David.

As Christians, we are part of this same genealogy--we are adopted through the Lord Jesus Christ. Though it does not often appear so, all true believers are a part of the same family--a family that does not know how to get along very well. How often do we see divisions arise among Christians.

This is all part of the sin nature we can not escape from while here on this earth. But, in heaven we will truly understand what it means to be a part of the family of God. It is just something we can hardly imagine now, though, is it not?

Pray today that God would graciously grant you adoption into His family through Christ, and that God would graciously help you to live at peace with fellow believers.

God Bless You,
Linda

All scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Path of Life

April 22: Psalms 6, 8-10, 14, 16, 19, & 21

3 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
4 In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
Psalm 10:3-4 & 11

1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good.
Psalm 14:1

1 O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Psalm 14:1 & 3-4

1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
Psalm 19:1-4

11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

The Path of Life

The Path of Life is something we tend to think about very seldom, and yet our eternal destiny is determined by it. In the Psalms today, David is contrasting the heart of the wicked and the heart of the saint.

In the verses from Psalm 10 and 14 shown above, the heart of the wicked is revealed. He boasts and curses, renounces the Lord, and is greedy for gain. Psalm 14:1 reminds us, The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

Is he excused because of his unbelief? No, he is not excused, because even nature itself testifies of the existence of God. Look at Psalm 19:1-4,

1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.


In our world of multiculturalism, we must never forget that there is really only one path of life, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a gift from God, not something we can conjure up from within.

David understood this clearly as he expressed it this way in Psalm 16:11.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.


In your "busy-ness" today, take the time to cry out to the Lord and be sure that the path you are on is really the path of life!

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Monday, April 21, 2008

David is King

April 21: 2 Samuel 1-4

4 And David said to him, “How did it go? Tell me.” And he answered, “The people fled from the battle, and also many of the people have fallen and are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.”

11 Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. 12 And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
2 Samuel 1:4 & 11-12

4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. When they told David, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul,” 5 David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, “May you be blessed by the Lord, because you showed this loyalty to Saul your lord and buried him. 6 Now may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you. And I will do good to you because you have done this thing. 7 Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant, for Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”
2 Samuel 2:4-7

1 There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. And David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker.

17 And Abner conferred with the elders of Israel, saying, “For some time past you have been seeking David as king over you. 18 Now then bring it about, for the Lord has promised David, saying, ‘By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines, and from the hand of all their enemies.’” 19 Abner also spoke to Benjamin. And then Abner went to tell David at Hebron all that Israel and the whole house of Benjamin thought good to do.
2 Samuel 3:1 & 17-19

David is King

Though Samuel had anointed David as the next king of Israel years before, it was not a simple matter for him to take over the kingship after the death of Saul. The men of Judah anointed David king at Hebron, but Abner, the commander of Saul's army, made Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul, king over the house of Israel.

2 Samuel 3:3 tells us, There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. And David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker.

Was this war fought because Abner, the commander of Saul's army did not know that David was to be the next king? We know this was not true because of Abner's words in verses 17 and 18 in 2 Samuel 3.

17 And Abner conferred with the elders of Israel, saying, “For some time past you have been seeking David as king over you. 18 Now then bring it about, for the Lord has promised David, saying, ‘By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines, and from the hand of all their enemies.’”

Have you ever found yourself in a position where you know what God's will is for you, but instead of the path opening up before you, obstacles just seem to keep getting in the way? Is not that exactly where David found himself? Yet, in spite of this, he did not do anything to hurry the process.

He himself did not strike down Abner nor any of Saul's family. In fact, when men came to him to tell them that they had killed Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul, David had the men killed. When Abner was killed by Joab, one of the commanders of the army of David, how did David respond?

31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes and put on sackcloth and mourn before Abner.” And King David followed the bier. 32 They buried Abner at Hebron. And the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept.

Truly, David was an amazing man of God; the Psalms revealed his true heart for God, and 1st and 2nd Samuel illustrated that his life truly exemplified his Godly character.

The words, David is King, should take on a new meaning for you. May God be gracious to you as you go about the duties of this day, and may you, by the grace of God, exhibit Godly characteristics in all of your words and deeds.

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scripture is from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Source of Strength

April 20: Psalms 121, 123-125, & 128-130

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

1 To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Psalm 123:1

8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 124:8

1 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people,
from this time forth and forevermore.
Psalm 125:1-2

1 Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!
2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
Psalm 128:1-2

4 The Lord is righteous;
he has cut the cords of the wicked.
Psalm 129:4

5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning.
Psalm 130:5-6a

Source of Strength

What was the true Source of Strength for David? The portions of the Psalms shown above reveal so much about David's character, and how he was able to endure years of persecution, sometimes at the hand of his own family.

Not once in the Psalms shown above does David give glory to himself for his own strength and prowess; instead each Psalm points to the Lord. Look at some of the phrases he uses:

* My help comes from the Lord.
* To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
* Our help is in the name of the Lord.
* Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion.
* Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord.
* The Lord is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked.
* I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.

What is the source of your strength? Where do you go first when trouble strikes? Are you more offended when people dare to speak against you, or that they are really speaking against God? How quick are you to lash out against those who dare to oppose you?

If you were to compose your own Psalm, what would you say?

These are sobering questions, which most of us fail daily. Pray today that your faith would be renewed and that you would cling to the true Source of Strength, as did David.

God Bless You,
Linda

I have written devotions for each of the Psalms which appear on my Devotional Reflections from the Bible web site; the Psalms shown above are in the Psalms Devotions 5 section.

All Scripture is from the English Standard Version of the Bible.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

You Light My Lamp

April 19: 1 Samuel 28-31 & Psalm 18

4 The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. 6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. 7 Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.”

8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you.” 9 The woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death?” 10 But Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.” 11 Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” He said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul.” 13 The king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a god coming up out of the earth.” 14 He said to her, “What is his appearance?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe.” And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage.

15 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.” 16 And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. 18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day. 19 Moreover, the Lord will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The Lord will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.”
1 Samuel 28:4-19

You Light My Lamp

We return to the book of 1 Samuel in today's reading to find Saul in a great deal of distress. The camp of Israel was surrounded by their enemies, the Philistines, but as Saul sought the help of the Lord, he only received silence. In desperation, Saul turned to a medium from En-dor, asking her to bring up Samuel.

Notice, that as soon as Samuel actually appeared, the woman knew that it was Saul who sought her help.

11 Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” He said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul.”

I am not sure what the woman expected, but I wonder if she really expected Samuel to appear.

Do you think Saul was surprised by the words of Samuel? If Saul had any hope left, it was soon vanquished; Samuel spoke plainly to Saul.

“Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? . . . Moreover, the Lord will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me."

These words should strike fear into our hearts: The Lord has become your enemy. How quickly we lose sight of the God we serve; how quickly we are prone to let other things become more important than our service and obedience to Him.

One thing is certain; when you reach the end of this life, you do not want to be the enemy of God!

Contrast this with David; look at his words in Psalm 18:28:

For it is you who light my lamp;
the Lord my God lightens my darkness
.


Was David perfect? When he became king did he live happily ever after? If he did sin, what was the difference between the sins of David and the sins of Saul? The answer lies in the heart! Who owns your heart?

Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart!

Pray that you can proclaim in confidence to God along with David, You Light My Lamp!

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Apple of Your Eye

April 18: Psalms 17, 35, 54, & 63

6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my words.

8 Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings.

15 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
Psalm 17:6, 8, & 15

27 . . . “Great is the Lord,
who delights in the welfare of his servant!”
Psalm 35:27b

4 Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of my life.

6 . . . I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.
Psalm 54:4 & 6b

2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
Psalm 63:2-4

Apple of Your Eye

Imagine that, we believers are the apple of God's eye! David certainly understood his place in God's eyes. As we read through each of the Psalms in today's reading, one thing is certain, no matter how bleak the situation, as David cried out to God for help, he never lost confidence in his standing in the sight of God.

Look at all of the positive assertions he made in the portions of the Psalms shown above.

* You will answer me, O God.
* I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
* Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of his servant.
* Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.

Remember, these were written by David during some of the darkest moments of his life. Saul was constantly seeking his life, he did not even know who his enemies were, and he had no place to flee.

What do we think of God when we we are utterly surrounded by the circumstances of this life with no place to go? Does our confidence hold strong and true as did David's, or are we prone to doubt God? Are we able to say with David, "I am the apple of Your eye!"

Ponder that today as the circumstances of life unfold before you. Pray that God will give you a peace and confidence that no matter what happens, God will be there for you.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7
God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wait on the Lord

April 17: 1 Samuel 25-27

5 Then David rose and came to the place where Saul had encamped. And David saw the place where Saul lay, with Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army. Saul was lying within the encampment, while the army was encamped around him.

6 Then David said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Joab's brother Abishai the son of Zeruiah, “Who will go down with me into the camp to Saul?” And Abishai said, “I will go down with you.” 7 So David and Abishai went to the army by night. And there lay Saul sleeping within the encampment, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head, and Abner and the army lay around him. 8 Then said Abishai to David, “God has given your enemy into your hand this day. Now please let me pin him to the earth with one stroke of the spear, and I will not strike him twice.” 9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can put out his hand against the Lord's anointed and be guiltless?” 10 And David said, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go down into battle and perish. 11 The Lord forbid that I should put out my hand against the Lord's anointed.
1 Samuel 26:5-11, English Standard Version

Wait on the Lord

Our Scripture reading today tells us of the death of Samuel, the beautiful story of David and Abigail, the sparing of Saul's life by David, and David living among the Philistines. I have already written a devotion entitled, Abigail from the Bible, on my website, Devotional Reflections from the Bible, so would encourage you to go there and read to read it.

I find it very interesting that, again, God gives David the opportunity to kill King Saul, and yet David again refuses to kill the Lord's anointed king. What a temptation that must have been, and yet we see no struggling on David's part. Who would have blamed David if he had killed Saul? David had already been anointed to be the next king of Israel, and Saul continued to search for David, so that he could kill him.

From the Psalms we have been reading recently, we know that David's heart was totally committed to the Lord. If God would have him to be the next king, God would make it happen in His own time and in His own way. David would not usurp the throne, but chose rather to wait on the Lord. Do you think that maybe Isaiah, the prophet, was thinking of David's example when he penned these words?

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

I have never been very good at waiting; my impetuous nature would rather leap ahead and take things into my own hand. Needless to say, I have many regrets for the troubles that have occurred because of my impetuosity. Slowly, God is teaching me the value of waiting upon Him. (It is not God who is slow; rather it is I who am a slow learner in such things!)

David displayed so many Godly characteristics, but perhaps this is one of the greatest. It would certainly bode him well when he would finally be made the King of Israel.

Pray today that God would graciously work in your own heart so that, like David, you would learn to wait on the Lord!

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scripture is from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

You Know My Way!

April 16: Psalms 56, 120, & 140-142

1 Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
all day long an attacker oppresses me;
2 my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many attack me proudly.
3 When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?
Psalm 56:1-4

1 In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
2 Deliver me, O Lord,from lying lips,
from a deceitful tongue.
Psalm 120:1-2

6 I say to the Lord, You are my God;
give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O Lord!
7 O Lord, my Lord, the strength of my salvation,
you have covered my head in the day of battle.
Psalm 140:6-7

8 But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord;
in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!
9 Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me
and from the snares of evildoers!
Psalm 141:8-9

3 When my spirit faints within me,
you know my way!
Psalm 142:3


You Know My Way!

Why do we Christians have such a great love for the Psalms? The Psalms are a great comfort to us because they provide real solutions for real problems in life, and they remind us of the great faithfulness of our God and King.

David was a hunted man with few friends and no place to go, yet he was never totally without hope. Why was that?

The five Psalms in today's reading have a common thread woven throughout them, showing us a man who went to God with his troubles and had great confidence that God would take care of him.

Look at David's pleas to God in the Psalms above:

* Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me.
* Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.
* Give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O Lord!
* Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me and from the snares of evildoers!

Now, look at the confidence David has in the Lord:

* When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
* In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
* O Lord, my Lord, the strength of my salvation, you have covered my head in the day of battle.
* When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!

What a wonderful example God has given to us by revealing the very character of David through the beautiful Psalms he has written to the glory of God--Psalms that still quiet our hearts and draw us nearer to our Lord and Savior.

I am really enjoying going through the Bible chronologically, reading these Psalms in the order they were probably written, and understanding the events surrounding David's cries to the Lord. They give to us an added dimension to understanding the great depths and riches found within their comforting words.

Praise God that today we can still cry out to God, as did David, "You Know My Way!" Ponder that as you go about the duties of this day!

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scripture is from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Sought the Lord

April 15: Psalms 7, 27, 31, 34, & 52

1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.

8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
Psalm 34:1-9, English Standard Version

I Sought the Lord

Where do you run? Where do you run when there are enemies all around you? That is where David found himself when fleeing from King Saul. Even in the camp of the enemies, there was no refuge!

Have you ever been there? Have your circumstances ever so overwhelmed you that there seemed to be no possible way out? How did David handle this seemingly impossible situation?

In Psalm 34, David praised the the Lord (verse 1),

1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth
.


He sought the help of the Lord (verses 4-6),

4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles
.


And he proclaimed the faithfulness of God to those around him (verses 8-9).

8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!


David was not perfect, (the Bible records his sins as well as his faithfulness to God), but he definitely knew where to turn when he was in trouble. Do we?

Where do you turn when you are in trouble? When people offer to help, they often say, "I'll pray for you," thinking that isn't much help, but at least it is something. That is so not true! The first and most important thing you need are the prayers of God's people!

That was exactly the point that James was making in James 5:16,

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. KJV

Do not ever feel that you do not have the ability to help those in need; they need your prayers to God on their behalf more than anything else.

I pray for you, my readers, that God would be faithful to you, and that you can say as did David, I sought the Lord, and He answered me.

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, April 14, 2008

Revenge

April 14: 1 Samuel 21-24

1 When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats' Rocks. 3 And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. 4 And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’” Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul's robe. 5 And afterward David's heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul's robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord's anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord's anointed.” 7 So David persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way.

8 Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage. 9 And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Behold, David seeks your harm’? 10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord's anointed.’
1 Samuel 24:1-10, English Standard Version

Revenge

God had David anointed as the next King of Israel by Samuel; there was only one problem. Saul was still king. Saul knew that his kingdom was going to be torn from him, and as he saw David being continually blessed by God, he soon became suspicious that David would the next king chosen by God. As his suspicions grew his disposition toward David changed; it was not long before David had to flee for his life.

What a sad time for David; he soon had a following of men who were disgruntled with King Saul, but they were in constant flight escaping the armies of Saul. In today's reading, King Saul went into the very cave in which David and his men were hiding. The men quickly encouraged David to kill Saul, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’” David refused to kill Saul, but rather cut off a corner of the robe of the unsuspecting king.

Revenge! Oh, how sweet it is. Here was David's crowning opportunity; Saul had already attempted to kill David on two occasions, and was now chasing him as a hunter chases the fox.

David, however, did not see it that way; Saul, was the king, anointed by God. When God chose to remove Saul from being king, it would not be at the hand of David. What a revelation of the character of David; he truly had a heart for God!

What do we do when the opportunity for revenge lies right before us? Are we as confident in God as was David, waiting for God to exact his own punishment upon the wrong doer. We love the fact that God is long suffering when dealing with us, but we wish He would not be so long suffering when dealing with our enemies. What a measure of our own trust in the Lord!

How often do we find ourselves completely frustrated because God chooses to do things differently than we would? Our tiny little view of things is but a shadow of the reality that exists around us; God views everything from the perspective of eternity, rather than from the perspective of time as we do.

Do you seek revenge from those who have wronged you? Pray today that God would give you a calm spirit of acceptance, knowing that God will put everything right in His own time. Is that easy to do? No, it is not. As Christians, we continually find ourselves on our knees pleading with God for grace to live each day to His glory and according to His will instead of our own.

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, April 13, 2008

David Escapes from Saul

April 13: 1 Samuel 18-20, Psalm 11, & Psalm 59

11 Saul sent messengers to David's house to watch him, that he might kill him in the morning. But Michal, David's wife, told him, “If you do not escape with your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.” 12 So Michal let David down through the window, and he fled away and escaped.
Samuel 19:11-12

And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has not the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, for our clan holds a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king's table.”

30 Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother's nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” 32 Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death.
1 Samuel 20:27b-33

9 O my Strength, I will watch for you,
for you, O God, are my fortress.
10 My God in his steadfast love will meet me;
God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.

16 But I will sing of your strength;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
17 O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love.
Psalm 59:9-10 & 16-17

David Escapes from Saul

We know from reading the Bible that even though David was a man after God's own heart, that did not prevent him from facing great trials all of his life. Saul knew that God was going to tear the kingdom from his hand and give it to another, but he did not know who that other person would be.

It was not long, however, before Saul began to suspect that David may be the anointed of God. The favor of the people quickly turned to David as God continued to bless him with great victories against the Philistines. The more popular David became the more Saul was consumed with jealousy until he finally began to seek David's life.

The Bible gives us a unique opportunity to delve into the heart of David through the Psalms which he wrote throughout his entire life. Psalm 59 was penned by David after he escaped from his own house with the aid of his wife, Michal.

Was David frustrated and bitter? Did he express his complete hatred of King Saul? Actually, the opposite is true as shown in the verses from Psalm 59 shown above. Rather than being weakened by these trials, David's confidence in God remained strong. Look at the example shown in the last two verses of Psalm 59.

16 But I will sing of your strength;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.

17 O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love.

As Christians, this same God is our fortress and strength as well. Pray that God gives you this same spirit as shown when David escapes from Saul. Say with the psalmist,

You, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love.

Amen, so shall it be.


God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Samuel Anointed David

April 12: 1 Samuel 15-17

1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2 And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” 4 Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5 And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord's anointed is before him.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.
1 Samuel 16:1-13, English Standard Version

Samuel Anointed David

King Saul continues in his backsliding away from the Lord until God proclaims, through Samuel, that He will take the kingdom away from Saul and give it to another. Chapter 15 ends with these sobering words.

And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.
1 Samuel 15:35

This verse is very interesting, especially when you note that Samuel died before Saul, so how could Saul see Samuel on the day of his death? We will study more about this when we come to 1 Samuel 28.

1 Samuel 16 begins on a more cheery note, The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”

I have always marveled at 1 Samuel 16--it is a wonderful story. Samuel stands before each son of Jesse as one by one they pass by. After the seventh son, Samuel looks at Jesse and says, "Do you have any more sons?" Jesse replies, "Well, yes, but he is young and is just a shepherd of our sheep."

To the amazement of both Samuel and Jesse, God chooses David, telling Saul to anoint him to be the next king of Israel. God explains to Samuel, "For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

After Samuel anointed David, did that mean that David became king immediately?

No! It was several years before David actually became the next king of Israel; his anointing was kept secret for several years. Much more is to be revealed about the true nature of King Saul, as well as the true nature of David, the son of Jesse, before David takes over the kingdom.

Thank God for the example He has given us in the life of David, the only one called by God, "A man after my own heart."

Just as David was anointed to be the next king of Israel, Christians today are also anointed by God to be lifetime servants of His. Pray today that God will be gracious to you and help you to remember that this is your first calling in life!

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.