I was amazed at the song that David wrote for Saul and Jonathan. I am sure the words he chose came easily as he thought more about Jonathan rather than Saul. He called it the “Song of the Bow.”
There is love of country and love of a friend – more than a friend – for David never found another man he could love like Jonathan.
I grieve for you, Jonathan, my brother. You were such a friend to me. Your love for me was more wonderful than the love of women. – 2 Samuel 1:26 HCSB
I have never experienced such love for a friend, however, I have heard of it and understand it. I am not sure Jesus had such a friend, but I am challenged to be a Jonathan to those who are called and anointed for leadership.
David was a man, a leader, who drew other leaders to him. When he wished for water from the well in Bethlehem, those that loved him braved all danger, risked their lives, and made sure they offered him a cup of that water. I am challenged again to look at my love for Jesus, my personal love. Love is a mighty bond – Jesus’ love for me – He braved all dangers, and His love caused Him to lay down His life for me. He loves me and that love ensures that I have a covenant with Him that nothing can get in-between.
This love unites and I see it in the New Testament.
Father, I have easily written love songs to You – they flow from my heart because of Your love for me. You have been my best friend since the day I met You and You have never left me alone. You have brought me through valleys as dark as death and have surrounded me with Your protection when I faced death. I am amazed how easily I could have been destroyed, if Your hand was not there to hold me. There is not an argument in the world that can convince me otherwise, even the threat of death. I grieve for those who do not know You as I have come to know You. They have not gone through the experiences that I have. Help me be a Jonathan or a Paul or a Barnabas or a Timothy to them and allow me to love them as You have loved me. Amen
The spirit world is real. Sometimes we forget that in our physical, material westernized lives. Everyone in this world has a perspective regarding the spirit world, regarding those things that are unseen around us each day. Some choose or by default simply ignore the existence of an in material world a spirit world angels demons. These people may live in ignorance of what is going on unseen around them, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is still invisible activity. Others choose to manipulate or attempt to manipulate the spirit world. They think it’s something to be trifled with, something to have fun with. Maybe parlor tricks, or casual entertainment.
11 Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” He said, “Bring up Samuel for me.”
I Samuel 28:11 ESV
13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.”
Acts 19:13 ESV
A third group may actively seek out the power of the spirit world. They might not fully understand what they are playing with, but they recognize that there is some legitimate power present in the invisible world around them. Saul fell into this group at one time as he sought to converse with Samuel even after he had died. Then there were the magicians in Acts as well that tried to replicate what they had seen Jesus and Paul do, but they did not understand what they were really dealing with.
And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land. (I Samuel 28:3 ESV)
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?” (I Samuel 28:9)
There may be other perspectives or hybrids of these I described, but there are also those that understand the spirit world and hold it in its appropriate place. Not one to be manipulated, not one to merely seek the power of, and definitely not one to ignore.
It is easy to go about my normal life, and forget that there is a spiritual realm swirling around me. But if I truly believe that it exists, it should impact the way that I live. It should drive me to my knees in prayer. It should give me boldness to speak out against evil. It should bolster my faith as I know that God is in control. I have sometimes felt fear of the power of Satan and his demons, ignoring the greater power of God and his angels. God has not given us a spirit of fear.
17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.
Acts 19:17-20 ESV
As we march into their territory, we should expect push-back. “No small disturbance “ (Acts 19:23) is likely the understatement of the decade. Paul had just preached to everyone in Asia! Response to the gospel was dramatic and changing lives and altering societal norms. God was on the move, and Satan’s forces would not keep quiet. Paul acted wisely and stayed away when the crowd turned riotous. A town clerk ended up speaking reason and restoring order and ministry could resume.
God is awesomely powerful and we should not step foot into our daily lives without walking in the strength of that truth.
Lord, help me not to forget the activity around me each day that is mostly invisible to me. Give me greater faith to pray intentionally and trust you regardless of the outcome. I recognize that you are in control. I also realize that although you have all authority, you also at time choose to let sin run its course in this broken world we live in. I trust you with the outcomes and praise you, the One above all. In Jesus name amen
I was recently listening to a podcast with Lysa TerKeurst called, The Shame Script. Lysa talked about the ways shame can be harmful to relationships. How it can cause isolation, when God calls me to intimacy. I was reading 1 Samuel and reflecting on Jonathan and David’s friendship. It says there was an immediate bond between them. I like to imagine them having deep conversations about God. They were like brothers, bonded for life. They took their shame, doubts and insecurities to the Lord. I’m convinced that this made their friendship even stronger. They didn’t let anything come between them. Not even Saul’s jealousy of David. (1 Samuel 18:9 NLT)
How often do I carry past hurts into a friendship, instead of taking it to the Lord?
Dear Father, thank you for the gift of friendship and community. We are not meant to do this life alone. Thank you that I can trust you with my feelings. That you are the true healer of my heart. I want to live from a place of acceptance and not striving for it. Help me to be after your heart, like David was. Amen.
I was in a meeting this week where the devotional leader discussed how easy it is for us to think we are standing firm and tall and yet, God’s Word declares that in that very moment, we could fall. God gives so much, I do not have to stand on my own – ever.
Samuel continued, “Although you once considered yourself unimportant, have you not become the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 1 Samuel 15:17 HCSB
Saul made such a mistake – he forgot he was made in the image of God and that he was supposed to reflect His rule. Instead he misused his authority. It is returning to God when I mess up that allows the Father to define me by His love and let Him fill me with His Spirit. It was from this position that I can give myself to Jesus and accept His call as He sends me out into the world.
Adam, Seth, Enosh – 1 Chronicles 1:1 HCSB
As I read all the names of those listed in this chapter, I can recall some of their stories. Many had ideas about God but most of them I remembered had a relationship with God – that God heard, knew and remembered – that God was gracious and come alongside them and gave them what they needed. I think they loved to think of Him as God the Giver.
Now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. – Psalm 39:7 HCSB
This is what I notice in my life – my happiness is in exact proportion to my despair of this world to the hope I have in the mercy and all-sufficient love of God. When I look to God and see His hand in all my troubles and put my faith in His wisdom, justice, truth and love I can rest easy because He is right there.
But there were some of them, Cypriot and Cyrenian men, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Hellenists,[e][f] proclaiming the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. – Acts 11:20-21 HCSB
In his book, Deep and Wide, Andy Stanley asks a question, Who is church for? I love discipling others and I find the church the place where I love to be and find that I fit well into that purpose. I also love to tell the gospel story to those who have never heard the good news. What a joy to bring them into a body that loves Jesus as much as their new found love.
Father, may I never lose sight of who You are. Thank you for adding my name to the list of those who have experienced Your gracious generosity. May I find strength in the idea of resting in You, even in the midst of You changing me. I pray that when I speak, may Your words heal those who are listening. May many hear the good news of Your love and respond as the Holy Spirit moves in their lives. Amen.
6 And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled.
I Samuel 11:5 ESV
King Saul began as a somewhat humble man. He sought God and fought hard for His people.
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
Acts 9:1-2 ESV
Saul, who became Paul the Apostle, began as a persecutor of the church. He ignorantly thought he was carrying out God’s judgment on this new sect, to become known as “Christians.”
But, in today’s reading, and a sneak peak into a couple day’s from now, we see a complete reversal in each of their lives.
The word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.”
I Samuel 15:10
20 And immediately he [Saul] proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
Acts 9:20-22 ESV
Who we are one day, does not determine our future. Who others perceive us to be, does not determine our future. We can be redeemed or corrupted as we continue to choose our life’s path. We must daily cry out for His wisdom and direction. Becoming a Christian might be a one time event, but living as one is a daily commitment.
Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me! 22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!
Psalm 38:22 ESV
This week I was reminded of the need for a continually renewed eternal perspective and reliance on God. .
There are no ordinary people.
You have never talked to a mere mortal.
Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.
But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
It is so easy to look at the physical world in front of us and give it undue emphasis, when in fact these worldly accomplishments, accolades, and accounts are the most temporary things about us. We will live forever. I am immortal and need to give greater care to my character, treatment of others, and self-sacrifice than earthly record keeping. My desire must be to honor God and follow Him rather than to seek the approval of man and any verbal or material recognition they might offer me.
May my life not mimic the first king of Israel that followed God for a season, but succumbed to people-pleasing before too long. Rather, may my life more closely resemble Saul of the New Testament who recognized his error and completed forfeited his own will for his life to find the beautiful freedom in Jesus, the Messiah.
Lord God, may You be first and foremost in my life today and every day. In Jesus name, amen.
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