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.”

I Samuel 20 Part 1–Great Friends

In the midst of Saul’s mission to kill his son-in-law, David, Jonathan, Saul’s son and heir to his throne, still was David’s best friend. Jonathan had no idea of his father’s hatred of David.  David had been loyal to the kingdom and to his father.  So when David approached Jonathan to ask the reason for Saul’s wrath, Jonathan was truly surprised and skeptical.  Saul and Jonathan were close. They shared everything. Saul was preparing the kingdom for Jonathan and would never make a move like that without letting Jonathan know…would he?
Saul knew Jonathan and David were dear friends. Saul did not want to tell his son of the plan. Saul knew what he was doing was wrong, and he knew Jonathan would side with David rather than with Saul–and Saul did not want to face that. What Saul did not know was that God established the covenant between Jonathan and David. No matter what Saul had in mind, God would not allow Jonathan to be a part of it.  The consequence of Saul’s rejection of God would not harm the covenant between these great friends.
God kindly puts great friends in our lives.  We pour our hearts and lives into those friends. Those are the folks that see us at our best and worst but love us just the same.  It is those friends we look to and draw upon when we are seeking honest feedback, heartfelt prayer, and continued life support. It is those friends to whom we are available 24/7-365. We would never question their need, we would never give up on them.  I thank my dear friends for their years of loyalty. I would be long dead if not for you. I hope that I have been a Jonathan in your lives; as you certainly been so in mine.  Friendship is a precious treasure. David knew it and so do we.  Let us never take for granted those friends God has supplied.
God Bless You

Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to kill me?”

“Never!” Jonathan replied. “You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn’t do anything, great or small, without letting me know. Why would he hide this from me? It isn’t so!”

But David took an oath and said, “Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, ‘Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.’ Yet as surely as the Lord lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.”

Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.”

So David said, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon feast, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow. If your father misses me at all, tell him, ‘David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem,his hometown, because an annual sacrifice is being made there for his whole clan.’ If he says, ‘Very well,’ then your servant is safe. But if he loses his temper, you can be sure that he is determined to harm me. As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant with you before the Lord. If I am guilty, then kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?”

“Never!” Jonathan said. “If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you?”

10 David asked, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?”

I Samuel 1 Part 2–Because I Asked the Lord for Him

Understanding God’s plan is often difficult. As Hannah poured her heart out to God, she was heartsick, devastated and beginning to feel quite hopeless.  The chief priest at Shiloh saw none of that…He saw a drunk on his steps.  I am sure he was quite aggravated–but, when Eli confronted her; he realized he was confronting a hurting, prayerful lady, and felt bad.  Eli blessed her, and as God’s priest, God honored his blessing.

After a marriage of disappointment and defeat, Hannah rose–knowing God had heard her prayer and answered it.  Then as the time came to fruition, Hannah gave birth to a son she named–“Because I asked God for him”–Samuel.  No one, least of all Eli, had any idea how dramatic his blessing would be for the nation of Israel. Samuel was to become a force for the change of the nation. He would set the path for Israel’s rise to glory. He would set the path for the coming Messiah. He would anoint the man after God’s own heart. All because a desperate woman prayed as if her life depended on it.

In this new year, wouldn’t it be great if God’s chosen would pray as if their lives depended on it.  If we would so intensely seek God that it seemed like we were drunk.  That the very core of our being would be wrapped around God like a child clinging to their parent.  God wants our devotion. He honors that devotion by giving us a life of purpose and meaning. 

We never know what circumstance will spark our legacy–we simply need to be ready and willing to trust God. Then God, in His time, will amaze us!

God Bless You

As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”

15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”

17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”

18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.

19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her.20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[b] saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”

Numbers 36–The Final Issue

The Book of Numbers ends with a last legal question.  What if a special provision is made to be fair to a member of the tribes that ultimately cheats the tribe? In this case Inheritance went to a daughter of the tribe–if that daughter was to marry into another triibe, then the tribe would lose lands.  God made it simple.  Have the daughter marry within the tribal group, or she will have to forfeit the lands,  The refreshing part is the response–Vs. 10 says, ” And all the daughters did as God commanded!”
The Book of Numbers ends in a way to remind us of the real and final point. The people were being prepared to gain the promised gift from God.  If they would simply honor Him, their lives would be blessed and their future would be bright.  Failure to follow and honor him, conversely would be awful and lead to misery and chaos. The Israelites learned the lesson and started following and obeying God. In the end, It would be that one thing that established them as His chosen people,
In our lives, it is also that one thing that will establish us and allow us to live lives of blessing and purpose.  We cannot out guess, out perform or accomplish a thing in our lives any more effectively, than when we simply trust and follow him. That is the simple and great message of Numbers and of the Bible.  Solomon said it best, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways–and He will make your path straight!” Proverbs 3:5-6
God Bless You
The family heads of the clan of Gilead son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, who were from the clans of the descendants of Joseph, came and spoke before Moses and the leaders, the heads of the Israelite families. 2 They said, “When the Lord commanded my lord to give the land as an inheritance to the Israelites by lot, he ordered you to give the inheritance of our brother Zelophehad to his daughters. 3 Now suppose they marry men from other Israelite tribes; then their inheritance will be taken from our ancestral inheritance and added to that of the tribe they marry into. And so part of the inheritance allotted to us will be taken away.4 When the Year of Jubilee for the Israelites comes, their inheritance will be added to that of the tribe into which they marry, and their property will be taken from the tribal inheritance of our ancestors.”

Then at the Lord’s command Moses gave this order to the Israelites: “What the tribe of the descendants of Joseph is saying is right. This is what the Lord commands for Zelophehad’s daughters: They may marry anyone they please as long as they marry within their father’s tribal clan. No inheritance in Israel is to pass from one tribe to another, for every Israelite shall keep the tribal inheritance of their ancestors. Every daughter who inherits land in any Israelite tribe must marry someone in her father’s tribal clan, so that every Israelite will possess the inheritance of their ancestors. No inheritance may pass from one tribe to another, for each Israelite tribe is to keep the land it inherits.”

10 So Zelophehad’s daughters did as the Lord commanded Moses.

Psalm 95–Learn From Other’s Mistakes

They had no excuse! The children of Israel were led from Egypt by the very presence of God. They were fed, watered, protected and blessed by a loving God; that wanted nothing more, than to bless them and release them into a free life in their own land. 

The Bible chronicles the story of their lives, their failures and of God’s patience; but, at some point, God saw that the slaves he led out were never going to accept the freedom he was providing. So, he never let them fully enjoy it. 

Their kid’s however–born into freedom, would know nothing other than God’s presence and his leadership.  They not only entered Canaan; but, they followed God’s leadership and cleared Canaan. It was their land–and still is today. It was a matter of trust.  The same God provided the same blessing–but, it was the trust and faith of the people that made the difference.

Like Israel, we have no excuse. We have God’s word to chronicle His power and Love. He has made clear through nature, history and His spirit–that he is in charge, and simply wants to bless us, if we will trust him. Still, like Israel, we struggle to accept the freedom God offers.  What’s more, we are always hedging to do things in our power, rather than counting upon his power to protect and lead us on the journey. As the psalmist sings–“Let’s be different and simply trust and praise God.”  Then, like the 2nd generation, we can enjoy the blessing God longs to share with us. It is a gift–We simply have to accept it. On this week of Easter–embrace and accept the gift God longs to share!!!

God Bless You

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.

Today, if only you would hear his voice,
“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,[a]
    as you did that day at Massah[b] in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested me;
    they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
    I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
    and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

Psalms 81–Please Let Me Bless You

Every parent that has parented a strong willed child knows the frustration of wanting to do amazing things for the child, but, being unable to do so because the child has a bad attitude and is continuously defying the parent. The child feels like life is not fair, because of all the punishment and so little reward–but, no child can understand that the greater heartbreak happens to the parent.  

God lived a heartbroken existence with Israel. He brought them out of Egypt, he led them, fed them, prepared them and then delivered them to the promised land. They promptly chose not to trust Him and wandered for 40 years in the desert. Then He delivered them again to the promised land. He cleared it out for them in 5 years. They took possession and were blessed beyond measure. Then within a generation, they abandoned the very God that delivered them into the land the longed for. From then on, Israel has been one heartache after another for God. He wanted to bless them, did and then they walked away.

In our lives, we struggle as well. As with Israel, God wants to bless us. We have to trust and follow him, but, as we do–He will meet our needs, keep us safe and prepare us for eternity. But, if we refuse to trust and follow him, then He is unable to bless us and we miss out on His best for our lives.  It is not that God wants to see us struggle, He simply is unable to bless us if we are not walking in His path.

God Bless You

“I removed the burden from their shoulders;
    their hands were set free from the basket.
In your distress you called and I rescued you,
    I answered you out of a thundercloud;
    I tested you at the waters of Meribah.[c]
Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
    if you would only listen to me, Israel!
You shall have no foreign god among you;
    you shall not worship any god other than me.
10 I am the Lord your God,
    who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

11 “But my people would not listen to me;
    Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
    to follow their own devices.

13 “If my people would only listen to me,
    if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
    and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
    and their punishment would last forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
    with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Psalm 30–God is With us in all Circumstances

Our faith is often stretched in times of trials. So when the circumstances of life turn dark–while we are unhappy, miserable or grief stricken–we are also focused upon God. We seek his provision, we beg for his restoration. We evaluate our choices and confess anything that may have come between us and the Lord.  We stand truly focused upon our dependence upon him.

Then, when life turns around and we see his favor; we start out very grateful–but soon we become confident in our own abilities, and set God on the shelf; ready to captain our own ship again.  God makes it clear that he is Lord in all circumstances.  It is never God that changes focus. He is always leading us toward becoming free people.  He never wants us to try to run our own show–that invariably ends poorly.  He wants us to enjoy the times of peace and prosperity with the same intensity we focus on him in times of struggle.  He simply wants us to trust him and allow him to be the lead, in all circumstances.  

If we can follow David’s lead and make our journey focused upon God and not our circumstances–then, we will be joyful. We will be at peace in the good times and bad–knowing God is with us in both.  We will never be surprised or feel abandoned.  We will simply live grateful, focused lives; with our end goal to be like him, and join him for eternity! He is the same Yesterday, Today and Forever!!!

God Bless You

I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me.
    You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.
Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you restored my health.
You brought me up from the grave,[a] O Lord.
    You kept me from falling into the pit of death.

Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones!
    Praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

When I was prosperous, I said,
    “Nothing can stop me now!”
Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain.
    Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.

I cried out to you, O Lord.
    I begged the Lord for mercy, saying,
“What will you gain if I die,
    if I sink into the grave?
Can my dust praise you?
    Can it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me.
    Help me, O Lord.”

11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
    You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!