The Humanity in War–2 Samuel 3 part 3

Sometimes, humanity is the first casualty of an extended battle.  People become so used to survival and self preservation that they forget to simply be Human. Joab and his brother were bitter at Abner for killing their brother in war—and though Abner had agreed to help David end the conflict and win the war, they let their bitterness control them and Murdered the man that could bring a peaceful end to the battle.  Yet in the midst of the horrible scene, David kept his Humanity.  He truly grieved for the former enemy.  He treated seriously the loss of life and the deceitful murder.  That treatment he gave showed him to be the man after God’s heart.  The people realized he was not about self preservation, he was about preservation of God’s chosen nation.

In our lives, we are faced with choices every day to demonstrate we are more than selfish and self-absorbed people.  The way we treat others and the way we look at opportunity are signs of who we consider the Lord of our lives.  Make every effort, in the midst of those trials, to care for others and genuinely show concern for others. In the midst of that, others will see the Lord in your life, and you will better face your own battles reasonably and hopefully.  In Matthew 6:33, Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”

David understood this and that is what made him the greatest King in Israel.

God Bless You

All the people wept again for Abner. 35 David had refused to eat anything on the day of the funeral, and now everyone begged him to eat. But David had made a vow, saying, “May God strike me and even kill me if I eat anything before sundown.”

36 This pleased the people very much. In fact, everything the king did pleased them! 37 So everyone in Judah and all Israel understood that David was not responsible for Abner’s murder.

38 Then King David said to his officials, “Don’t you realize that a great commander has fallen today in Israel? 39 And even though I am the anointed king, these two sons of Zeruiah—Joab and Abishai—are too strong for me to control. So may the Lord repay these evil men for their evil deeds.”

I Samuel 7 Then they all repented

Like any dad, when Israel truly repented of their wrong doing God forgave them.  When they restored their relationship with him, he was able to once again to provide, protect and bless them.  What a great testimony…”Then ALL the people of Israel turned back to the Lord.”  It is a critical thing to note that God immediately forgave them.  He did not take an attitude of “We’ll See!” He longs to have us follow him in freedom and he knows our heart. He knows when we repent and he accepts us right where we are.

If we as individuals would follow him and submit to his lead—he would lovingly provide and protect us.  If we as a nation would repent as Israel repented—we could ask and he would hear our cry and restore us and heal our land.  But, we would have to all turn back and truly repent, as Israel did. Our nation is greatly suffering the pain of walking away from God.  We need to allow him to regain Lordship of our lives and our nation—Help me Lord to make you my Lord and the Lord of my home.

God Bless You

Then all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord. So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only.

Then Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah, and I will intercede with the Lord for you.” When they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Now Samuel was serving as leader[a] of Israel at Mizpah.

When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” Then Samuel took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.

I Samuel 6–The Ark Returned

The Philistines were a little more teachable than others of God’s enemies.  As he struck the lives of the captors of the Ark—they realized they had angered God.  As such,  they repented and changed direction.  They assembled a guilt offering and followed the protocol returning the Ark.  The ark once returned was out of the life of Philistines.  One set violated God’s laws and died.  The people of Israel celebrated greatly upon the Ark’s return.

In our lives, we always face the temptation of straying from the Lord.  As we pray and stay in the word—and seek his face, he will guide us and carry us through the difficult times.  If we do struggle and slip away, he calls us to repent and turn around.  He is always ready to welcome us back.  He values repentance and transparency.  If he will relent at the repentance of his enemies, then he will certainly accept us and receive us as we submit to him.  Seek him, follow him and return to him.  He will receive you with love and joy.

God Bless You

13 Now the people of Beth Shemesh were harvesting their wheat in the valley, and when they looked up and saw the ark, they rejoiced at the sight. 14 The cart came to the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh, and there it stopped beside a large rock. The people chopped up the wood of the cart and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 The Levites took down the ark of the Lord, together with the chest containing the gold objects, and placed them on the large rock. On that day the people of Beth Shemesh offered burnt offerings and made sacrifices to the Lord. 16 The five rulers of the Philistines saw all this and then returned that same day to Ekron.

17 These are the gold tumors the Philistines sent as a guilt offering to the Lord—one each for Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron. 18 And the number of the gold rats was according to the number of Philistine towns belonging to the five rulers—the fortified towns with their country villages. The large rock on which the Levites set the ark of the Lord is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh.

19 But God struck down some of the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh, putting seventy[a] of them to death because they looked into the ark of the Lord. The people mourned because of the heavy blow the Lord had dealt them. 20 And the people of Beth Shemesh asked, “Who can stand in the presence of the Lord, this holy God? To whom will the ark go up from here?”

 

I Samuel 4 part 1–Seek God, not the Ark

Israel had lost its perspective.  They were beaten in battle by the Philistines and decided that if they brought the Ark of God—it would save them.  No one said let’s seek the Lord.  No one said let’s worship and follow God and then he will save us—No, they said let’s bring our symbol of God and IT will save us.  They saw it as a Good Luck Charm.  The enemy actually showed more respect for God than did Israel.  The result was horrific.  Israel lost thousands of men and the very Ark they hoped would save them.

We struggle in our own lives by placing our faith in the things of God—rather than God himself.  We think if we attend church regularly, keep a Bible on the front table, say grace at dinner or act as good people—that will save us and get us into heaven.  Truth is, God wants to be in relationship with us. He wants us to seek and follow him. He wants us to turn from our self-reliance and surrender our hearts to him. Our seeking him and following him is what saves us not the trappings of religion or symbols of our faith. Often, when we rely on the things of God to save us, we will not only miss God but we will lose the value of what we are chasing.  Matthew 6:33 says it best, “Seek first his kingdom and righteousness–and all these other things will be added to you.”

God Bless You

 After the battle was over, the troops retreated to their camp, and the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord allow us to be defeated by the Philistines?” Then they said, “Let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. If we carry it into battle with us, it will save us from our enemies.”

So they sent men to Shiloh to bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim. Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, were also there with the Ark of the Covenant of God. When all the Israelites saw the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord coming into the camp, their shout of joy was so loud it made the ground shake!

“What’s going on?” the Philistines asked. “What’s all the shouting about in the Hebrew camp?” When they were told it was because the Ark of the Lord had arrived, they panicked. “The gods have[b] come into their camp!” they cried. “This is a disaster! We have never had to face anything like this before! Help! Who can save us from these mighty gods of Israel? They are the same gods who destroyed the Egyptians with plagues when Israel was in the wilderness. Fight as never before, Philistines! If you don’t, we will become the Hebrews’ slaves just as they have been ours! Stand up like men and fight!”

10 So the Philistines fought desperately, and Israel was defeated again. The slaughter was great; 30,000 Israelite soldiers died that day. The survivors turned and fled to their tents. 11 The Ark of God was captured, and Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were killed.

Ruth 3 part 2–A Gentleman’s Heart

There is a certain character of a gentleman.  It is a combination of class and chivalry.  It is engrained and obvious in everything that he attempts.  The way he treats strangers, the way he treats women and the way he responds to opportunity all show a selflessness that makes him beloved to all he comes into contact with.  That was the Character of Boaz. He made sure that Ruth was not embarrassed, he made sure she knew that he had listened.  In addition, he made sure  she knew he would follow the rules and preserve her reputation.  Finally, he made sure she went home with adequate provision for her and her mother-in-law.

As Godly men, we are to have the same character.  We are to be selfless, honorable and men of integrity.  All that we do should reflect the very nature of God.  When we live our lives that way, we stand out to those we know.  They want to be a part of our lives and they want to know what makes us different.  When they learn it is our restored relationship with God, they want to be a part of the family as well.  We will never know the impact we will have as we journey through life.  But, we know that how we live can impact lives daily and eternally.  Father, help me to live in a way that honors you and blesses others.

God Bless You

10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”

14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.”

15 He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he[c] went back to town.

Ruth 1 part 2–Walking Together

coaching%202What does it mean to be committed.  When we speak of relationships, it means we get into the lives of others wherever they are.  It is often messy—it is mostly thankless but it is always the most rewarding thing we could ever do.  Ruth, a young and beautiful woman had the opportunity to go back to her people and be safe and cared for.  She had her mother-in-law’s blessing.  But, she knew that leaving her mother-in-law would be a terrible thing for Naomi.  No husband, no sons, Naomi would struggle to survive.  She stepped up and became the friend and daughter Naomi needed. There were no assurances, neither knew how they were to survive—but, they were together and committed.

When we commit to others, we risk pain, sadness and have little idea where the commitment will lead us.  But, as we remain faithful, God protects, provides and blesses us through the lives we touch.  We learn how silly it is to judge, how useless it is to put on masks and how rewarding it is to journey together with others.  We learn so much when we are in others lives.  We see so many great things happen as we pray for and help one another.  We realize that we cannot do this alone, and really do not want to. Just as Jesus walked along with his disciples, so we need to journey together and not alone.  It is critical, that we never give in or give up on each other.  Help me, Lord to follow you with my life and make the journey with those I love.

God Bless You

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”

20 “Don’t call me Naomi,[b]” she told them. “Call me Mara,[c] because the Almighty[d] has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted[e] me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”

22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.

 

Sounds of Salvation-Matthew 26-27

From the dawn of time, Our Lord knew this day would come.  And like any Warrior, he faced the battle head on.  The lies, the jeers, the accusations and the abuse and execution were not forced upon him, instead, he accepted them with grace and honor. He was not afraid, he had to assist his accusers, because they had no chance.  He quietly received the torture, BUT, He suffered greatly as he was separated for the first time in eternity from the Father.  He experienced the awful stench and vileness of a world of sin and death.  He surrendered to his fate, but never to his enemy.

The cost for our restoration was more than we could ever grasp. We remain grateful, humble and unworthy to accept the gift that was purchased for such a great price. 2000 years later, it is still very heart wrenching to think I was a part of the reason God made that sacrifice.  Lord, help me to live in a manner worthy of the sacrifice you made.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUzR4HKbi9w

God Bless You

 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend”…5 2 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”… The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?”“He is worthy of death,” they answered…74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.

“Barabbas,” they answered.22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.They all answered, “Crucify him!”23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”…45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[c] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open.