I Corinthians 1 Part 3–Men Simply Do Not Get IT!

Throughout the generations, men have attempted time and again to show how foolish it is to trust the Lord and honor Him with our lives. Men have tried to prove that God does not exist and that God should have no part in the daily affairs of men’s lives. They have persecuted, martyred and attempted to wipe God’s name from any and everything the public may see.  Still, thousands of years and dozens of fallen kingdoms and empires later–God is still standing.  His word is still the basis of the legal system we enjoy. He is still named on every coin, and history is divided by the coming of the Savior. 
 
The reality is that men will always try to replace God with their own version of supremacy. Science, art, philosophy, wealth, entertainment or just plain old chaos–men always think that their ways are better than God’s. They see spiritual truth as foolishness. They see followers of our Lord as simpletons and crazy people. Still, God remains large and in charge. His ways are still the best and walking with Him still is the only true source of peace and purpose.  The world unnerved by our confidence and faith–because they simply can’t understand.  Truth is, that is not our problem.  We speak the truth and hope that they come to know Christ.  We are selfless and God-seekers! We know the truth and as the verse plainly states, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32
 
God Bless You

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]

20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord

2 Samuel 20–Will the Unrest Ever End?

David had been through unbelievable pain. He knew that his acts destroyed many lives. Now, the land had seemed to settle down and people were once again accepting David as king–But, then Sheba appeared.  Sheba was from Benjamin’s tribe, the tribe of Saul.  He declared to the people of Israel that He wanted nothing to do with David–and several followed him.  Ultimately, David’s Army sought him out and the people of the city where he was hiding killed, Sheba.  The unrest was over.  David’s troops returned and no further rebellion happened during David’s reign. 
 
Life is a series of battles and trials.  We face them as they come.  Some come as a result of our sin and mistakes, others happen because that is a part of life.  As one looks at David’s life, it becomes apparent that while God truly loved and blessed David, there was plenty that happened that was not a fairy tale. David had to endure the trials and remain committed to the Lord in good and bad times.  Through that, he was able to leave a legacy that truly changed the world. I am sure if you asked David on a day to day basis, many of his days were not the best. We must cling to the hope of our eternal perspective and know that no matter how difficult life can become, God is with us, loves us and has an amazing plan for us!
 
God Bless You

Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bikri, a Benjamite happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted,

“We have no share in David,
no part in Jesse’s son!
Every man to his tent, Israel!”

So all the men of Israel deserted David to follow Sheba son of Bikri. But the men of Judah stayed by their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

When David returned to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to take care of the palace and put them in a house under guard. He provided for them but had no sexual relations with them. They were kept in confinement till the day of their death, living as widows.

Then the king said to Amasa, “Summon the men of Judah to come to me within three days, and be here yourself.” But when Amasa went to summon Judah, he took longer than the time the king had set for him.

David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba son of Bikri will do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your master’s men and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities and escape from us.”[a] So Joab’s men and the Kerethites and Pelethites and all the mighty warriors went out under the command of Abishai. They marched out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bikri.

While they were at the great rock in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing his military tunic, and strapped over it at his waist was a belt with a dagger in its sheath. As he stepped forward, it dropped out of its sheath.

Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, my brother?” Then Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10 Amasa was not on his guard against the dagger in Joab’s hand, and Joab plunged it into his belly, and his intestines spilled out on the ground. Without being stabbed again, Amasa died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bikri.

11 One of Joab’s men stood beside Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab!” 12 Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the road, and the man saw that all the troops came to a halt there. When he realized that everyone who came up to Amasa stopped, he dragged him from the road into a field and threw a garment over him. 13 After Amasa had been removed from the road, everyone went on with Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bikri.

2 Samuel 16 Part 2–Seeking the Advice “You” Want to Hear

Absalom was going to do whatever he could to usurp David’s authority and make a name for himself as king.  That was the certain death of Absalom’s plan. The one thing that set David apart was his desire to honor and glorify God in all that David did while serving as the king.  Absalom failed to realize that Israel was to be God’s nation–not any king’s. So as Absalom entered Jerusalem to be the conquering warrior, he was seeking advice from anyone that would help Absalom to exalt himself. David’s advisors were glad to give him “that kind” of self-serving advice. Had Absalom come to honor God as the king, he would have sought God first for advice.
 
It is too easy to forget that by serving God first, God is then free to bless us. We constantly toy with the idea of wrestling back control from God and somehow doing a better job of captaining our own ship.  Interestingly, when we do that, we often find ourselves seeking advice from anyone other than God. We look to the world, the talking heads and anyone else that will give us advice on how to live. What a waste, and what a mistake.  God’s word has endured thousands of years and the truth that lies within is as relevant today as it has been through the ages.  Jesus said it best, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (protection, provision, and peace) will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33. 
 
Do not be sucked in by the lies the world pushes with such passion. Humility, obedience, and submission to God’s plan are still and always the best way to enjoy a purposeful and meaningful life.  
 
God Bless You

 Meanwhile, Absalom and all the men of Israel came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel was with him. 16 Then Hushai the Arkite, David’s confidant, went to Absalom and said to him, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”

17 Absalom said to Hushai, “So this is the love you show your friend? If he’s your friend, why didn’t you go with him?”

18 Hushai said to Absalom, “No, the one chosen by the Lord, by these people, and by all the men of Israel—his I will be, and I will remain with him. 19 Furthermore, whom should I serve? Should I not serve the son? Just as I served your father, so I will serve you.”

20 Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give us your advice. What should we do?”

21 Ahithophel answered, “Sleep with your father’s concubines whom he left to take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself obnoxious to your father, and the hands of everyone with you will be more resolute.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he slept with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

23 Now in those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel’s advice

I Samuel 31–A Sad End To a Sad Story

The reign of King Saul ended very unceremoniously.  He was soundly defeated by the Philistines–the enemy that he defeated when he started his time as Israel’s king.  He took his own life–he knew there was no good way for the battle to end and killed himself.  He lost his sons–they were all killed in battle as well. So the kingdom now lay in ruins and the royal family decimated.  But, the good news was that this was not the end.  It was only the end of the beginning.  Now that Saul was gone, David could become the king of Israel and lead them back to becoming God’s people and kingdom.
 
We must live our lives trusting and following God. When we try to live independent of God, our lives become chaotic and hopeless.  It is difficult enough to do life when we trust and follow God, but apart from him–well, we can do nothing that is either substantial or that will last. Jesus said it best in Matthew 6, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33. If we will trust and follow God–we will have a meaningful life; apart from Him, however, we will have a sad end to a sad story.
 
God Bless You

Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell dead on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically.

Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcisedfellows will come and run me through and abuse me.”

But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day.

When the Israelites along the valley and those across the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them.

The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. They cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among their people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.

11 When the people of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their valiant men marched through the night to Beth Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth Shan and went to Jabesh, where they burned them. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under a tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted seven days.

I Samuel 24 Part 2– It’s not You, It’s Me

David did the only thing possible in his situation; step out in faith and speak the truth.  Saul had no real reason to hunt  David, David was loyal and great for the kingdom. Still, Saul had abandoned God and allowed his fear of losing everything to drive him crazy.  So there Saul stood, robe in view, knowing that if the tables were turned He would have killed God’s anointed in a minute.  At that moment Saul uncharacteristically admitted defeat and went home.
 
David made a great case for whom God would bless and curse–Saul simply grasped the obvious.  So on that day and at that time, Saul admitted David would be king and that his pursuit was entirely unwarranted. He also humbly asked the future king to spare his family once David ascended to the throne. If that was the end of the story, that would be an acceptable outcome–sadly, it was not the end of the story. For David and his men, for that day, it was the end of that chapter of the story–a day of reprieve. For Saul, it was a day of reckoning, where he had to come to terms with what he had become.
 
In our lives, things keep moving forward. There are times when God places us in a position to recognize where we are in our journey. We have days like the one David and Saul had at the cave. In those times we have to look hard and long at who we are and who we are serving.  If we are serving God–we cling to that and trust him to resolve our struggles and provide a reprieve. If we have abandoned him, then we face our lives, repent and start following the Lord again.  We must remain aware that even after such epiphanies, life still remains a struggle and trials, temptations and curveballs still pass our way. 
 
Like David we speak the truth, take the reprieve and enjoy the day. Then, we start a new day ready for battle and committed to following God closely.
 
God Bless You

Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’? 10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. 12 May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.

14 “Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea?15 May the Lord be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.”

16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the Lord delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today.20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the Lord that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.”

22 So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.

I Samuel 22 part 1–David on the Run

With nothing in hand and nowhere to go, David headed into the land of Israel’s enemies. 1st David escaped to the King of Gath–(Goliath the Giant from Gath).  He hid out in Gath for a period, knowing Saul would not hunt him there.  Next, he headed to Moab–the place where Saul first made his name by wiping out several people.  David tried his best to go where he would not be attacked and where spies would not chase back to Saul and get him captured.  One can imagine the humbling experience that David faced standing before the leaders of lands he helped to defeat.
 
The good news was that as he was on the run, he was beginning to gather a group of men to command. It was a ragtag crew, but they would be what he needed as he faced the days ahead.  One can be sure as David started this phase of the journey, it looked nothing like what he would have ever hoped or dreamed.
 
In our journey, so many of the choices we make and directions we are pulled seem nothing like we expected in our youth.  It drives us crazy, it tests our faith and it slowly refines us into the people God calls us to be.  There is no easy way to become your best. It requires discipline, it requires training and it requires adversity, spiritual warfare and a long term (eternal) vision of life.  David would never have signed up for the anointing as king if he had known what God was going to take him through to be the greatest king Israel ever knew. He did, however, face each day, each trial and each disappointment fully relying upon God. Like David, we must look beyond what is and reach for what God has planned. We must remain grateful, humble and faithful no matter how difficult the journey becomes.  Help me, Lord to remain faithful in trials, grateful in blessings and humble in submission to Your lead!   
 
God Bless You

That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances:

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

12 David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.

14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? 15 Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”…

David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.

From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, “Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?” So he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was in the stronghold.

But the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.

I Samuel 20 Part 2–Jonathan and David’s Covenant

David knew king Saul’s intentions.  He escaped death several times already. Jonathan was, however, David’s best friend and so David wanted to give him a chance to make things right.  Jonathan and David knew that they would care for each other and their families no matter how the situation turned out; so David and Jonathan made a covenant that day that would last the rest of both of their lives. A covenant to care for each other’s families if the other could not.
 
They made a plan to check Saul’s true intention and Jonathan promised to warn David should he find that Saul was out to kill David.  Jonathan was stuck in the middle of two folks he loved but knew he had to honor God 1st and foremost.  So Jonathan went back to make sure and David stayed hidden. While David knew the outcome in advance, he wanted for His friend to be right.
 
In the most difficult of times, it is those that we love that get us through.  They may not be able to make the tough circumstance go away, but they will be there to support us and pray.  We can never underestimate the power of a friend and we must always be that friend to those we have in our lives. Jonathan and David were friends for life and for generations to come. God, help me to be that kind of friend to others.
 
God Bless You

Then Jonathan said to David, “I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, that I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? 13 But if my father intends to harm you, may the Lord deal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the Lord be with you as he has been with my father. 14 But show me unfailing kindness like the Lord’s kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 15 and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.”

16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord call David’s enemies to account.” 17 And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.

18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon feast. You will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid when this trouble began, and wait by the stone Ezel. 20 I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target. 21 Then I will send a boy and say, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; bring them here,’ then come, because, as surely as the Lord lives, you are safe; there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then you must go, because the Lord has sent you away. 23 And about the matter you and I discussed—remember, the Lord is witness between you and me forever.”