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Numbers 3–The Levites, God’s Firstborn

The Levitical tribe had a unique place in Israel.  They were set apart to perform all the duties related to the spiritual functions of the nation.  They were in charge of the Tabernacle and the tent of meeting.  They would care for the furnishings and the Ark of the Covenant.  They would be the priests of the tribes and always be spread through the tribes and not left on their own.

But, the Lord said something unique to Moses–These are to be the replacement for the 1st born males from every Israelite woman that I lost in Egypt.  God had not forgotten the horrible act Pharaoh had ordered.  The Levites were to replace the first born males lost to Israel–the ones that would normally be committed to God. What a seat of honor–to be truly set apart as a tribe, to replace such a grievous loss.  The men of Levi would hold that distinction from then on.

In our lives, God set us apart as well.  We are to be his chosen.  We are to be his ambassadors among the people of the world.  We are to wear the LORD’S name boldly as we live our daily lives.  God treasured the Levitical order; just as He treasures us. We simply need to live as His people, It is as great an honor to live as God’s ambassadors while we walk among those we know each day!

God Bless You

The Lord said to Moses, “Bring the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him. They are to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the tent of meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle. They are to take care of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle. Give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to him.[a] 10 Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; anyone else who approaches the sanctuary is to be put to death.”

11 The Lord also said to Moses, 12 “I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine, 13 for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether human or animal. They are to be mine. I am the Lord.”

I Samuel 29–God Sends David Home

 God was kind to David.  He was at a critical point in his conflict with Saul.  He had been living with the Philistines for more than a year. Saul and his armies were going to battle with the Philistines. The Philistine king Acksish Loved David and marched he and his band right with his personal troops toward the battle.  David was now in the unique position of being the anointed King of Israel marching into battle against Israel.  What a horrible position to be in.  God then used the Philistine officers to spare David.  They told the king to send David and his men home–they were to great a risk.  So the king sent them away from the battle with Israel.  The king blessed David and David’s men as they went home.  
 
Sometimes we are placed into impossible positions. It seems hopeless and overwhelming. But, just then, God steps in and does something so amazing and so unexpected that it becomes clear that He was the author and executor of the miracle.  When God intercedes, it is a great reminder that the Lord alone can change the world and men’s hearts.  That is why we can never trusting in God’s leadership. We must seek Him, bring our needs before Him and follow His leadership through our daily life.  When we do, He does the best things to prepare us.  David was able to leave that day and not battle his people–Thank You, Lord, for interceding at just the right time.
 
God Bless You

The Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, and Israel camped by the spring in Jezreel. As the Philistine rulers marched with their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were marching at the rear with Achish. The commanders of the Philistines asked, “What about these Hebrews?”

Achish replied, “Is this not David, who was an officer of Saul king of Israel? He has already been with me for over a year, and from the day he left Saul until now, I have found no fault in him.”

But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and said, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place you assigned him. He must not go with us into battle, or he will turn against us during the fighting. How better could he regain his master’s favor than by taking the heads of our own men? Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances:

“‘Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands’?”

So Achish called David and said to him, “As surely as the Lord lives, you have been reliable, and I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. From the day you came to me until today, I have found no fault in you, but the rulers don’t approve of you. Now turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers.”

“But what have I done?” asked David. “What have you found against your servant from the day I came to you until now? Why can’t I go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?”

Achish answered, “I know that you have been as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God; nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go up with us into battle.’10 Now get up early, along with your master’s servants who have come with you, and leave in the morning as soon as it is light.”

11 So David and his men got up early in the morning to go back to the land of the Philistines, and the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

I Samuel 28–Saul Seeks a Medium

There is really no worse place to be than to be the king of God’s chosen nation, but also to be an enemy of God! That was the world where King Saul found himself.  He had continually disobeyed God and sought to make a name for himself.  God was not amused.  So God stripped Saul of His spirit and leadership and anointed David to be king.  Saul became more and more obsessed with killing David and with running things his way. Then, the day arrived when Saul was at the end of himself. He knew his kingdom was in danger. He had no direction from God and he really felt alone. So Saul sought out a medium to call Samuel, his last friend from God, up from the grave.  In short, Saul sought to find God by his own means–Samuel appeared and told Saul the truth. He was done! He and his Sons would die at the hands of the Philistines and David would take the kingdom.
 
When one strays so far from God that he can no longer hear his voice, the truth of God is rarely a comfort. Saul, hoped somehow that Samuel could give him a happy message–so such message would come. In short, the only answer is to repent and return to God. In our lives, Christ died for our sin. His atonement gives us the opportunity to repent and return even after we have sinned against God.  If we will repent and return–God will never leave nor will he forsake us. We still have to face the consequence of our choices, but we do so with God at our side and confident that he will love and protect us through the difficult times.  Saul needed to repent to God and return to God’s authority.  He should have turned the Kingdome to David and followed quietly. He refused and fought God–now he had to face the consequence of that choice.  Thank You, Lord, that we can repent and return to you and you will not leave or forsake us.
 
God Bless You

But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?”

10 Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.”

11 Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”

“Bring up Samuel,” he said.

12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”

13 The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”

The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure[a] coming up out of the earth.”

14 “What does he look like?” he asked.

“An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said.

Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.

15 Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”

“I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.”

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 tornthe 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.”

I Samuel 27–A Time of Peace

David went back to the Philistines to hide out from Saul.  It was a year and four months of simply raiding and killing Israel’s enemies from outside Israel.  David was safe from Saul and yet he was serving his people.  He obtained the city of Ziklag for his troops and their families.  Saul quit chasing him, The Philistine king left him alone and for 16 months, David simply lived and raided.  While the story seems boring, David was in sore need of boring.  He had been living on the run for so long, that, a time of boring was critical for his health and the health of his men. So David lived as a man without a country but he did so in peace.
 
In our journey, it seems like the pressures of life keep us on the run.  Life throws its series of curves at us and we are always seeking to address them and to honor God.  Like David, we sometimes need boring to restore our health-physically, mentally and spiritually.  If your life seems a bit boring, thank the Lord for it.  Odds are that the time of boring will be limited and the adventures ahead will keep us jumping until He returns.
 
God Bless You

But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.”

So David and the six hundred men with him left and went over to Achish son of Maok king of Gath. David and his men settled in Gath with Achish. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, the widow of Nabal.When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him.

Then David said to Achish, “If I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be assigned to me in one of the country towns, that I may live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?”

So on that day Achish gave him Ziklag, and it has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since.David lived in Philistine territory a year and four months.

Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites.(From ancient times these peoples had lived in the land extending to Shur and Egypt.)Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish.

10 When Achish asked, “Where did you go raiding today?” David would say, “Against the Negev of Judah” or “Against the Negev of Jerahmeel” or “Against the Negev of the Kenites.” 11 He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, “They might inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’” And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. 12 Achish trusted David and said to himself, “He has become so obnoxious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant for life.”

I Samuel 26 Part 2–David Wins to Fight Another Day

In the grand scheme of things, it was a good day for team David.  God had once again handed Saul over to David, but, David spared Saul. David knew it was not his job to take vengeance upon Saul–that was God’s job. So Saul and David had a very open and frank conversation in which Saul admitted his sin and promised to leave David in peace.  The problem was David had heard it all before.  So, as he returned Saul’s spear and chastised Saul’s men, David knew he had won another battle, but, the war was ongoing.  For David, that prospect must have been maddening.  Still, his faith in God and God’s plan carried him through another difficult day.
 
In our lives, sometimes it seems like God has solved the problem and as we move forward we can point to his amazing protection and provision.  Still, the battle rages and we rise to face a new day and a new set of struggles.  In the midst of the struggle, we have to cling to the little victories.  when the enemy attacks or life throws the next curveball, those victories give us the hope to continue to move forward.  It is acceptable to become discouraged when things seem hopeless and out of reach–but, if we will focus upon God and his leadership, rather than on the circumstance before us, the Lord will carry us through.  David continued to move forward–so should we!
 
God Bless You

Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is that your voice, David my son?”

David replied, “Yes it is, my lord the king.” 18 And he added, “Why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done, and what wrong am I guilty of? 19 Now let my lord the king listen to his servant’s words. If the Lord has incited you against me, then may he accept an offering. If, however, people have done it, may they be cursed before the Lord! They have driven me today from my share in the Lord’s inheritance and have said, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20 Now do not let my blood fall to the ground far from the presence of the Lord. The king of Israel has come out to look for a flea—as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”

21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Come back, David my son. Because you considered my life precious today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have been terribly wrong.”

22 “Here is the king’s spear,” David answered. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. 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.”

25 Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph.”

So David went on his way, and Saul returned home

I Samuel 26 Part 1–Honoring God is Always the Right Answer

It was very simple. David was being protected by God as King. Saul, on the other hand, was being deceitful, murderous and acting in direct rebellion to God. No man would have ever blamed David for killing Saul. David gave Saul countless opportunities to stop the hunt and allow David to live his life in peace. Still, Saul persisted. Now David had Saul’s life in his hands once again…but, David again trusted God and let Saul live.  It was never easy, and I am sure it frustrated his men, but, God was leading David and David had grown to trust God at all cost.
In our lives, we are faced with trials and issues that make us want to take over and try to run our own show. The world encourages it and everyone else seems to be doing that very thing.  In our effort to remain faithful, it looks futile and even those we love, wonder why we would not simply take matters into our own hand.  Like David, we must stay the course and trust that God will prepare us, protect us and provide for us–no matter what the world does.   If we will do that, God will show himself to be faithful and true.  We can never lose hope in God’s faithfulness. If we will only trust him, He will make our lives full and meaningful–just as he promised.
God Bless You

The Ziphites went to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Is not David hiding on the hill of Hakilah, which faces Jeshimon?”

So Saul went down to the Desert of Ziph, with his three thousand select Israelite troops, to search there for David. Saul made his camp beside the road on the hill of Hakilah facing Jeshimon, but David stayed in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul had followed him there,he sent out scouts and learned that Saul had definitely arrived.

Then David set out and went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of the army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him.

David then asked Ahimelek the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, “Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?”

“I’ll go with you,” said Abishai.

So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him.

Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t strike him twice.”

But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the Lord lives,” he said, “the Lord himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.”

1 Samuel 25 Part 3–Vengeance is Mine

After Abagail repaired the relationship with David and his men, she went home and prepared to tell her husband what transpired. Sadly, he and his buddies were drunk and could not comprehend the gravity of what Nabal had done. So Abagail waited until the next morning after Nabal was sober.  Then she told him the whole story.  The reality of his stupidity hit him like a train. He had a heart attack and died 10 days later.  David was avenged, Abagail was free from her awful husband and David–who had his wife Michal taken away by the king–now made this superhero woman his wife.  It was a great day for the fugitive king and for Abagail.
 
Life is funny. Often things happen in the normal course of events that vindicate those that follow God.  It seems strange, but they are blessed without having to raise a finger in anger or protest.  The Lord has told us throughout his word that if we will trust in Him, follow Him and depend upon him–then He will avenge and He will repay.  He also promises to make our paths straight. He will always be our greatest advocate and most avid support.  In Romans, Paul tells us that whatever our trials are, they do not compare to the rewards that await us. Romans 8:18.  We, like David, can always cling to the ultimate truth that our Father loves us and will be our advocate, protector and if need be, our avenger! What an amazing thing to know!!!
 
God Bless You

Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.”

36 When Abigail went to Nabal, he was in the house holding a banquet like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very drunk. So she told him nothing at all until daybreak. 37 Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone. 38 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died.

39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise be to the Lord, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head.”

Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife. 40 His servants went to Carmel and said to Abigail, “David has sent us to you to take you to become his wife.”

41 She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, “I am your servant and am ready to serve you and wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” 42 Abigail quickly got on a donkey and, attended by her five female servants, went with David’s messengers and became his wife.43 David had also married Ahinoam of Jezreel, and they both were his wives. 44 But Saul had given his daughter Michal, David’s wife, to Paltiel[d] son of Laish, who was from Gallim.

I Samuel 25 Part 2–Abagail, A True Superhero

There are few stories more amazing than the story of Abagail. She was the wife of a selfish man. Nabal, while wealthy, was mean and short-sighted. He insulted David and his men after they had protected his workers and their sheep.  David was angry and was ready to wipe the man out. When Nabal’s wife heard what had happened–she dived in and literally saved the day.  She made provisions for David and his men’s efforts, she made an apology for her husband’s behavior and she made peace with the future King of Israel.  She was not directed to do so by her husband–in fact, she did all this despite him.

 

David was amazed and accepted the gift and apology. He forgave Nabal even though Nabal had not changed one bit. David was a gracious man and saw that despite Nabal’s idiocy, he had at least married a great woman that should not be punished because of him. She was a superhero.

 

In my life and many lives of men I know, we would be lost without the great wives God gave us.  They work tirelessly to make our houses homes. They raise our kids to be ladies and gentlemen and to have lives that matter and are great. They make sure we look and act our best and prepare meals, holidays, vacations and life events. The most amazing part is that they do this for little or no recognition. They perform a labor of love that truly leaves a legacy of greatness many generations after they are gone.  Thanks, Lord, for giving me and my children a superhero mom. 

 

God Bless You

 

 Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs[b] of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

20 As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them. 21 David had just said, “It’s been useless—all my watching over this fellow’s property in the wilderness so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good. 22 May God deal with David,[c] be it ever so severely if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belongs to him!”

23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. 25 Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent. 26 And now, my lord, as surely as the Lord your God lives and as you live, since the Lord has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal. 27 And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you.

28 “Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. 29 Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, 31 my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.”

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.”

35 Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.”