Monthly Archives: March 2022

1 Samuel 25:32-30:10 

Had Abigail not intervened, David’s response would have been swift and severe. He recognizes, however, that her intervention was from/by/through God, and he gives praise where it’s due. In one moment, he is stirred to slaughter, but in the next, he exercises great control and submission to God. Two very powerful stances. In the heat of a moment, I wonder, would I choose words and actions rooted in the intensity of the moment or would I relinquish my passions in obedience to the Lord? In this reading, I emphasize God’s sovereignty. He sees a big picture. I see just a fraction.

32 David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33 May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. 34 Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.” (1 Samuel 25:32-34, NIV, emphasis added)

God handles things in the big picture. I can walk away when he calls me elsewhere. I can trust he’s working all things out.

38 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died. (1 Samuel 25:38, NIV, emphasis added)

David stood over sleeping Saul and exercises restraint through humility. Lord, am I humble to the point of leaving things in your hands? Am I confident in you or myself?

23 The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness. The Lord delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. 24 As surely as I valued your life today, so may the Lord value my life and deliver me from all trouble.” (1 Samuel 26:23-24, NIV, emphasis added)

In a time of trouble, Saul consults a medium, to consult the ghost of dead man. And Samuel’s spirit gives all sovereignty, power, and glory to God.

16 Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. 18 Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. 19 The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 28:16-19, NIV, emphasis added)

In a time of trouble, David holds to the ephod to inquire of the Lord.

Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him, and David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” (1 Samuel 30:7-8, NIV, emphasis added)

These scriptures are timelessly relevant. Human passion, emotion, and weakness are still the same. And so is my God–still the same. Trustworthy. Sovereign. Mighty. Just.

Father God, I’m thankful that your example shows me over and over again of who you are. My emotions can be fierce and fleeting, based on limited information and charged by my own bias. But you see the full picture, around the world, beginning to end. I pray that I always seek you, rely on you, honor you, and glorify you by word and action. I want to grow to maturity in you, with evidence of your hand and guidance in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Samuel 23:1-25:31 

David: “O Lord, tell your servant.”  (I Samuel 23:11 NIV)
Saul: “Find out where David usually goes. Find out about all the hiding places he uses and come back to me with information.” (I Samuel 23: 22, 23 NIV)

Throughout these chapters about Saul and David, there is an obvious difference between their sources of trust. David’s first reaction was to turn to God for wisdom. Saul depended on man.

I am so like Saul. I want the human response. I trust what I can see, touch, hear. Why don’t I go to God first? Why wouldn’t I want the advice from the One with all the answers? David asked and God provided. I wonder if this one of the reason David is referred to “man after God’s own heart.” He would know God’s heart because he constantly depended on it.

God, You are my source. You know what’s better for me than any man ever could. I want to learn to turn to You first. I want it to be my default reaction. Remind me to depend on You.  Amen.

Jody (simply spoken)

From the archives. Originally published April 8, 2009.

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1 Samuel 20-22

David fled from Naioth in Ramah and found Jonathan. ”What have I done?” he exclaimed. “What have I done?” he exclaimed. ”What is my crime? How have I offended your father that he is so determined to kill me?” ”That’s not true!” Jonathon protested. ”You’re not going to die. He always tells me everything he’s going to do, even the little things. I know my father wouldn’t hide something like this from me. It just isn’t so!” Then David took an oath before Jonathan and said, “Your father knows perfectly well about our friendship, so he has said to himself, ’I won’t tell Jonathan-why should I hurt him?’ But I swear to you that I am only a step away from death! I swear it by the LORD and by your own soul!” ”Tell me what I can do to help you,” Jonathan exclaimed.” 1 Samuel 20:1-4 NLT

Jonathan was put in a tough position, between his dad and best friend. But, his loyalty was with God first. That gave him the wisdom and courage to do what was right. He was loyal to his dad who was King and to his friend. I can’t help but to wonder what I would do in the same situation. Am I letting God’s word guide my decisions? Am I a loyal friend?

“Show me this loyalty as my sworn friend-for we made a solemn pact before the Lord-or kill me yourself if I have sinned against your father. But please don’t betray me to him!” ”Never!” Jonathan exclaimed. “You know that if I have the slightest notion my father was planning to kill you, I would tell you at once.” 1 Samuel 20:8&9 NLT

Jonathan was a faithful friend. I can get weary of praying the same prayer or showing up when it doesn’t seem to make a difference. But, God has been speaking the importance of faithfulness in my life. It reminds me of His faithfulness to me.

And may you treat me with the faithful love of the Lord as long as I live. But if I die, treat my family with faithful love, even when the Lord destroys all your enemies from the face of the earth.” So Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, saying, ”May the Lord destroy all your enemies!” And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself.” 1 Samuel 20:14-17 NLT

Do I know how fully loved I am by God, that I can love others well? Jonathan loved David well. With a love that could only come from God. They had genuine sadness when they left each other. It was a bond that could not be broken.

“Both of them were in tears as they embraced each other and said good-bye, especially David. At last Jonathan said to David, ”Go in peace, for we have sworn loyalty to each other in the Lord’s name. The Lord is the witness of a bond between us and our children forever.” Then David left, and Jonathan returned to the town.” 1 Samuel 20:42 NLT

Thank you Father for never giving up on me. Thank you for being my closest friend. Help me to be a good friend and love others well. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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1 Samuel 17:26-19

And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

I Samuel 17:37 ESV

Such a familiar passage. David and Goliath. Even those not familiar with the bible likely know the basics of this story. Giant enemy, defenseless boy, the apparent underdog wins. But, there is so much more in the reading of the text.

David, a simple shepherd, comes to the battlefield without the negative cloud of intimidation and fear that blanketed the rest of the camp. He hadn’t seen failure and death to the extent that the army cowered from. He simply knew God was to be trusted and not blasphemed. He knew the Hebrew beliefs that God was their banner, and that the battle belonged to Him. And he believed it.

Just because he stepped into a new arena filled with new enemies and challenges, he continued to trust what God had said and proved over and over. Giants couldn’t stop him. Domineering older brothers couldn’t stop him. The fear of death and failure couldn’t stop him.

New challenges test the depth of my faith. I can say I trust God’s provision in my life, but when God puts me in a situation requiring complete reliance on Him, I see areas my trust is deficient and I learn to trust in a fresh way. I can say that I have God’s love, but when a student walks into my class that is “hard” to love, I have my eyes opened to how selfish and unloving I still am. Our circumstances do not change our faith, but they do expose it.

David had an unquestioning faith in God. He didn’t see a huge giant to defeat. He saw a problem that was smaller than his God. His bold declaration should be my daily battle cry:

“You come to me with a sword and 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. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand . . . that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.”

I Samuel 17:45-47 ESV

Paraphrased for my everyday life: You come to me with accusations and with conflict and with challenges above my pay grade, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God above everything, whom you have defied. The Lord will deliver this day into my hand . . . that all the earth may know that God is my God, and that all who here may know that the Lord saves not with resolutions and defenses. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give this day’s challenges into my hand.

From this moment, military success followed David at every battle line he approached. He did not win any of those battles though — God did. And, Saul didn’t know what to do with that.

And David had success in all his undertakings, for the Lord was with him. 15 And when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful awe of him.

I Samuel 18:14-15 ESV

Not giants or siblings or jealous kings, not work pressures or wayward children or broken dreams, can take us down on the battlefields of life. If my daily confidence rests not in my own ability or resources, but in the God of the universe, the challenge is always conquerable, because God always wins.

God wins. Every time.

Lord of Hosts, lead me with boldness. Strengthen my heart, hold my focus on You, bolster my confidence with Your truth. Help me see each challenge in its proper perspective where it shrinks to microscopic when compared to Your strength and sovereignty. Let me fight with courage and trust You with each blow of the battle. The battle is Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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1Samuel 14:43-17:25

Saul became a disappointment in God’s eyes.  I wonder how much is too much, before I become a disappointment in God’s eyes too?  Surely Saul did some good things along the way.  But God, even though He is patient and forgiving, reaches a place where what I do, as a whole, matters, and deserves some consequences. Saul had reached that point! Even though God may take something away from me, it is still not hopeless.  It is just an opportunity to reset and restart.  Saul is at a place in his life that he must decide what he is going to do next. Please God or self?

  In 1 Samuel 15:17, Samuel told Saul- that when you started out, you were small even in your own eyes. But as you grew in power, your head grew even bigger.

Wherever he turned, he came up with a victory.  He became invincible! He smashed Amalek freeing Israel from the savagery and looting. (1 Samuel 14:47b-48 The Message)

All through Saul’s life there was war, bitter and relentless, with the Philistines.  (1 Samuel 14:52A The Message)

We know from past scripture what this meant.  It seems to me that God’s issues with the other towns were worst that His issues with Saul.  Therefore, God gave Saul victory.  But, God said if you are under my blessing, you will have rest from all your enemies.  Saul had far from rest.  He bounced from one conflict to the next.

His next battle was with Amalek and their people.  Saul was told that Amalek was under a holy ban. No survivors– not men ,women, children, infants or animals, no exceptions.

One good thing Saul did was to warn the Kenites to evacuate, or they would get caught up in his battle.  I think that is admirable and shows that you reap what you sow.  The Kenites were kind to the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt, now God is extending the kindness back in their direction through Saul. 

When the battle was over Saul had King Agag and the choice cattle and sheep.  Then He went to Carmel to set up a victory monument in his own honor.   When Samuel caught up with Saul, Saul said to Samuel that he ‘accomplished God’s plan to the letter”! Did he believe this himself? Later he admitted to Samuel that he saved the choice sheep and cattle to make sacrifices to God and had King Agag alive. 

I believe David said, that if your gift to God costs you nothing, it is not a sacrifice. I think that sacrificing animals that should have been slaughtered falls into this category.  God’s desire for me is to listen to what He asks of me, and then do it! He doesn’t want me to be showy or religious in name only, doing activities that make me look good to others. These things to God are worthless.  God is not complicated.  He sees my heart, my motives, and my intentions and if it is not solely to please Him, it is not a sacrifice to Him! 

Because of his actions, Saul lost the kingdom.  Samuel had to carry out God’s instructions, not Saul, and killed King Agag himself.  He begged Samuel to ask God to change His mind. Was it because he didn’t want to lose God, or because he didn’t want to lose his fame and power?  God knows motives, God saw Saul’s heart!

Maybe God knew that Saul would not be an ideal leader.  Maybe he was the most capable in the land, at that time. But he did not do the job as God asked him to do it.  Sure, he won some battles, but he didn’t do it with God as his main focus.  God was not his priority. Saul was only somewhat surrendered to God, only when it benefited him.  So, God had Samuel go to anoint a new king.  It makes me wonder, ‘Has God ever had to use someone else to do “my” job?’ Is there some time or place where I let God down?  I am sure there is, and it makes me sad.  I know there are times where I did a poor job of following God down to the last detail.  Just because I am not the leader of a nation, doesn’t mean I am not the leader of some body! It all matters in God’s economy.  The small parts make up the whole and every part is vital to what God wants to accomplish.  I can not take anything lightly, and think that it doesn’t really make a difference if I veer off to the left or right. How I get there is just as important as the end results are.  I may think that it doesn’t matter, but it matters to God!  God needs me to rise above the world’s way to His Way!

And so, Samuel went to find another king. Samuel looked at several of Jesse’s son and thought that surely this must be the one.  But each time God said no!

But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything.  Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature.  I’ve already eliminated him.  God judges persons differently than humans do.  Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 The Message)

God selected the runt.  Isn’t it just like God to do it this way!  I just think that runt means the youngest, but still!  I am a runt in my family. God knows my capabilities.  My strengths and weaknesses.  But because I know what I can do on my own, it becomes very obvious to me, when God shows off and I am able to go way beyond all I could possibly imagine for myself.  God is so mysterious as he chooses the most insignificant to do the most significant things.

God said, “Up on your feet!  Anoint him! This is the one.” Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed him, with his brothers standing around watching.  The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind.  God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life.

Samuel left and went home to Ramah.

At that very moment the Spirit of God left Saul, and in its place a black mood sent by God settled on him.  He was terrified. (1 Samuel 16:12b-14)

Why does it take me until I lose something to really appreciate what I had? Saul was troubled.  I wonder what it was like to feel God’s presence leave.  I have heard when something goes, you fill it with something else. To have the presence of God replaced with a black mood had to be unbearable.  I have not suffered with depression much, but when I did, it was debilitating.  No motive, no energy or desire to do anything but mope.  It had to be so hard for Saul to live his new life.  What if I knew that without God all would be dark and desolate?  But hasn’t He already told me?

“God has just now torn the kingdom from you, and handed it over to your neighbor, a better man than you are. Israel’s God-of Glory doesn’t deceive and He doesn’t dither.  He says what he means and means what He says.” (1 Samuel 15: 28b-29)

Father God, you are the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Your word stands! You require obedience from me always.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, I ask you to help me to know how precious you are so that I will never have to be without your presence.  Thank you and Amen!!

Carol (carolvorwe)

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