There are so many examples in the Bible of David’s reliance on God. David’s got big decisions to make, and in simple, direct ways, he asks, “Should I? Will you?” He doesn’t use flourishing formality.
8 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they mobilized all their forces to capture him. But David was told they were coming, so he marched out to meet them. 9 The Philistines arrived and made a raid in the valley of Rephaim. 10 So David asked God, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?”
The Lord replied, “Yes, go ahead. I will hand them over to you.” (1 Chronicles 14:8-10, NLT)
And he gives God the glory.
8 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.
9 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
10 Exult in his holy name;
rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
11 Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him.
12 Remember the wonders he has performed,
his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
13 you children of his servant Israel,
you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.
23 Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
24 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
25 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
28 O nations of the world, recognize the Lord,
recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.
29 Give to the Lord the glory he deserves!
Bring your offering and come into his presence.
Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor. (1 Chronicles 15:8-13, 23-25, 28-29, NLT)
Certainly one result of cutting back on social media is that I am freed to more quiet thoughts and contemplation. I spend more time laughing with my family, taking walks, and enjoying simple play with a puppy. And even more than those joys, I am up at dawn to see the breaking light of a new day, to listen as the world wakens with bursting birdsong–the whole earth truly does sing. It’s all praise. And when I’m not filling my mind with other people’s thought feeds, I have time to quiet and know that God walks with me. He listens. To think I can ask him, “Should I? Will you?”!
Lord Jesus, I thank you for your faithful presence, how you bend low to hear my simple whispers. And I thank you for your many answers to prayer, your patient guidance, and the sweet gifts of time you have given me.
“So, I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.” “How Foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” 1 Samuel 13:12-14 NLT
How many times am I like King Saul and try to do things in my own strength? Instead of having a humble and repentant spirit like David.
“O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage! You arrows have struck deep, and your blows are crushing me. Because of your anger, my whole body is sick; my health is broken because of my sins…I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart. You know what I long for, O Lord; you hear my every sigh.” Psalms 38:1-3,9-10 NLT
In Acts I read about another Saul. One that God chose, even though he was far from him. Maybe God knew that his heart could be softened like Davids. It took blindness to get Saul’s attention. Sometimes in my own life I am blind to what is paralyzing me. I forget I am chosen, like Saul was. I am encouraged by God’s constant pursuit of him. And the impact he made for the kingdom. When I want to give up praying for someone, this reminds me that no one is too far gone. God didn’t give up on Saul. He saw him for what he was becoming, not who he was.
“But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid hands on him and said , “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength… And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ”He is indeed the Son of God!” All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?” Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.” Acts 9:15-22 NLT
Lord, Thank you for never giving up on me. For your grace, mercy and forgiveness. I desire to have a heart that searches after you. Amen.
“The Israelites were in great distress. Finally, they cried out to the Lord for help, saying, “We have sinned against you because we have abandoned you as our God and have served the images of Baal.” The Lord replied, “Did I not rescue you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites? When they oppressed you, you cried out to me for help, and I rescued you. Yet you have abandoned me and served other gods. So I will not rescue you anymore. Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen! Let them rescue you in your hour of distress!” But the Israelites pleaded with the Lord and said,”We have sinned. Punish us as you see fit, only rescue us today from our enemies.” Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the Lord. And he was grieved by their misery.” Judges 10:9-16 NLT
What other gods am I following? Sometimes good things can turn into idols if I am not careful. Before I know it my focus is on them and off of the one who graciously gives them to me.
“As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women.” Luke 23:26-27 NLT
I reflect on the things in my life that have over-shadowed the cross.
“But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.” Luke 23:49 NLT
The women followed Jesus all the way to the cross. “The more we follow Jesus, the more we fall in love with Him, want to obey Him, experience life with Him, and become a beacon of light to others through Him. Will following Him be inconvenient? Maybe. Will it cost us in ways that stretch us? Sometimes. Does it force us to live life with a less self-centered outlook? Yes. Does living to follow Jesus at every turn bring joy that we can’t get any other way? Absolutely. Following Him is the very thing our souls were created to do. And it is the most daily way to discover our purpose in life.” (Embraced Devotional, Lysa TerKeurst)
“As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed.” Luke 23:55 NLT
They wanted to be near him.
“I have followed your commands, which keep me from following cruel and evil people. My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you. I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as you would guard your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Psalms 17:4-8 NLT
Dear Father, please forgive me for putting other things before you. Thank you for your grace and mercy. For your presence. To you be the glory. Amen.
We find the story of Gideon in our passage in Judges this morning. Many if not all of us have read this many times. There is one small bit of the story I have overlooked before:
Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. 9 During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. 10 If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah 11 and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. 12 The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.
13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”
14 His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.” (Judges 7:8b-14 [NIV])
So the whole story as we know is a one of a test of faith for Gideon. God sees Gideon as a might warrior even though he was hiding in a grain bin. God whittles his men down past the bare minimum. No way would I have gone into battle with only 300 men. Then God gives Gideon something to hang on to. After he has obeyed God — probably thinking he’s going to die — he is given a reassurance that he will be victorious. It’s obvious he’s afraid — thus Purah going with him and then he hears good news. A prediction of victory from the enemy’s lips. What more could he ask for.
That happened to Moses too. It wasn’t till he started back to Egypt from the wilderness did God tell him the people that would have killed him for going back were gone.
How often does God do that for us? But it takes our obedience first before he reassures. Are you reading to do the next thing God wants you to do? If so don’t wait for the assurances, they will come after your first steps in His direction.
“Then Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.” Luke 13:18&19 NLT
He also asked, “What else is the Kingdom of God like? It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.” Luke 13:20 NLT
As I prepare my heart for Easter, I think about God’s Kingdom coming to earth. Humble beginnings. The obedience of Jesus. Even with the knowledge of his death, he pressed on…
“Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he went, always pressing on toward Jerusalem.” Luke 13:22 NLT
Moses, the man who once couldn’t find the words, lead the children of Israel with a song. He reminded them of God’s faithfulness.
“Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! Hear, O earth, the words that I say! Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants. I will proclaim the name of the Lord; how glorious is our God! He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!” Deuteronomy 32:1-4 NLT
Moses was called Israel’s greatest prophet, but his disobedience kept him from entering the Promised Land.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants. ‘I have now allowed you to see it with your own eyes, but you will not enter the land.” So Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, just as the Lord had said.” Deuteronomy 34:4&5 NLT
Sometimes God wants my obedience, even when I can’t see the results.
“There has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. The Lord sent him to perform all the miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, and all his servants, and his entire land. With mighty power, Moses performed terrifying acts in the sight of Israel.” Deuteronomy 34:10-12 NLT
Dear Father, Help me to be more concerned about building your kingdom, instead of my own. Thank you for making a way to you through your death on the cross. Give me eyes to see glimpses of your glory everyday. Amen.
“But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.” Psalms 13:5 NLT
I bet after forty years of circling that mountain, it was pretty familiar territory. The Lord was telling them to move on.
6 “When we were at Mount Sinai, the Lord our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. 7 It is time to break camp and move on (Deuteronomy 1:6, NLT).
I consider these verses in light of change and challenge.
29 “But I said to you, ‘Don’t be shocked or afraid of them! 30 The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. 31 And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’ (Deuteronomy 1:29-31, NLT)
He looked for the best places to camp and guided with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day.
6 If you need food to eat or water to drink, pay them for it. 7 For the Lord your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the Lord your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.”’ (Deuteronomy 2:6-7, NLT)
David’s psalm touches on good and evil. And I know from Deuteronomy (and my own life), God goes before me. He fights for me. He is just. I find peace in his goodness.
5 Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.
7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings.
8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
letting them drink from your river of delights.
9 For you are the fountain of life,
the light by which we see. (Psalm 36:5-9, NLT)
I can trust him. Oh, if he is willing, will I not be healed?
12 In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. (Luke 5:12-13, NLT)
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 23 Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? 24 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
25 And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!” (Luke 5:22-26, NLT)
If he says to go out deeper, will I not see his miracles?
5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” 9 For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus. (Luke 5:5-11, NLT)
Lord, I live in wonder and delight of you. Thank you for your faithfulness, love, provision and protection. Thank you for fighting for me and loving me tenderly and deeply.
“How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; An entire generation of Godly people will be blessed. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to take care of them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.” Psalms 112:1-9 NLT
Legacy fills my mind…
A question that Courtney asks in her post sticks with me. “How will my children remember me?”
A dear family lost their husband and father in a tragic car accident ten years ago. I reflect on this man’s faith. It has left a Godly mark on his six children. His time with them was short, but left an eternal impact.
A friend told the story of how her dad read a Billy Graham book and was saved. This changed the course of her family.
“I will look on you with favour and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. I will put my dwelling-place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.” Leviticus 26:9-13 NIV
I am thankful for the story of restoration and redemption that God is writing in my family. I am getting to see first hand how he brings beauty from ashes. God is using two broken people to reflect His glory to the four children that he has entrusted us. When I start to feel overwhelmed by it all, I come to him again. He promises to be with me. And to finish the work he has started.
“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35&36 NLT
Thank you Father that you are the lifter of my head , that your yoke is easy. Help me to carry my burdens to you and to teach my kids to do the same. Thank you for your faithfulness, mercy, kindness and forgiveness. Amen.
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” Hebrews 10:23