Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Father's Love

David was driven from his throne by his son, Absalom, who conspired against his father after their falling out. It seems certain that Absalom's intention was to kill his father and consolidate all of the power in Israel for himself. His pride had taken over, and he was not thinking of his father with any love at all. Still, David loved his rebellious child. He ordered his commanders to treat him gently in the battle that ensued. Finally, he grieved over him when Joab killed Absalom against David's orders. (II Samuel 18:33) What a picture of the great love of a father for his children.

In David's response to Absalom's rebellion we see unselfish love. David could have stayed in Jerusalem and fought for his throne, but he voluntarily fled from his son. He could have plotted how to avenge Absalom's disdain for his father, but he continued to love his son. He wished him no harm at all when the battle for the throne came. However, Absalom died, and his father was left to grieve. His grief was so deep that he told God that he wished he had died instead of his son. The tears flowed freely, as David withdrew to his chamber.

We all share a love for our children that is so strong we can never stop loving them no matter what they do. Even if they oppose us, and think we are crazy, we love them just the same. Our love is not based on their love for us. It is based on the fact that they are God's gift to us, our heritage, and we realize each child is special and unique. There could not be a favorite child, because all of them are our favorite.It must be that this is possible, because we are able to love them with a little of God's love for us.

Tomorrow, I intend to read II Samuel 19-21.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Unforgiveness

David was a man after God's own heart, but like all of us he struggled with unforgiveness at times. One instance was when Absalom fled from his father after avenging his sister Tamar who was violated by her brother Amnon. Absalom devised a plot to kill Amnon. David grieved over the loss of Amnon and the fact that Absalom had fled, but he would not forgive his son and ask him to return to Jerusalem. Finally after the prompting of Joab, he allowed Absalom to return, but for 2 years he did not speak with his son. (II Samuel 12:21,28) That is a hard heart of unforgiveness.

Perhaps David thought because he had allowed his son to return he had done all the Lord wanted him to do to forgive him. That was not the case. Forgiveness is the full release of another person from anything they owe us, even an apology. It is a uni-lateral act on our part to release them, even if they do not repent or ask us for forgiveness. Why would we do that? God commands us to forgive, and He bases our forgiveness on how we forgive others.(Matthew 6:14,15) After all, our attitude of unforgiveness harms us more than it harms the other person, and it breaks our fellowship with the Lord. Therefore, we must do all in our power to totally forgive everyone against whom we are holding any grudge.  Jesus is the Master of forgiveness. He will help us, if we will ask Him. Then, we will be right with Him and be at peace in our hearts.

Tomorrow, I intend to read II Samuel 16-18.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Lasting Consequences of Our Sins

Sometimes, we sin even when we know what we are about to do is wrong. Some of those sins are more serious in the sense that they have worse consequences for us and other people. God sees our hearts, and He knows how to deter us from doing that again. He gives us lasting consequences for our sin, even after we have confessed it and received forgiveness, so that we will not sin again. That is exactly what happened to David after his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. (II Samuel 12:10) This is a relevant truth for all of us.

God hates sin, because He knows how much it hurts us and those around us. He knows our hearts, because He knows us and human nature. He realizes that we must have lasting consequences for some of our sins, so that we learn our lesson, and we begin to hate sin, too. Therefore, we end up having to live with those consequences for years or for the rest of our lives.

Some believers do not know this truth. They think that once they confess a sin and repent of it, God removes all of the consequences, too. Yes, that happens at times, but often, He does not remove the consequences, but He requires us to live with them and to depend on His grace to cope with them for the rest of our lives. This is His way of leading us to closer dependence on Him, as well as teaching us to hate sin.

Tomorrow, I intend to read II Samuel 13-15

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Keeping the Friendship Covenant

Do you remember the covenant of friendship that Jonathan and David made in the Lord? David did not forget it after the death of Jonathan and the beginning of his reign over all Israel. David sought out any relative of Saul who might still be alive, and he was told of Jonathan's crippled son, Mephibosheth. He ordered them to bring him to Jerusalem, so he could bless him by returning the land of Saul to him and his servants, while also allowing him to eat at his table like one of his own sons. (II Samuel 9:7,13) What a blessing to see David remember his friend and his covenant, even though no one else would have remembered it.

We must be faithful to our covenants. When we make a covenant with another person, sometimes we call it a contract, but whatever we call it, we must honor it and fulfill it. When two people marry, they enter into covenant with each other to be committed to each other until death parts them. That is a very important covenant relationship. However, the greatest is the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus. When we enter into covenant with Jesus, His part is to forgive our sins and give us eternal, abundant life. Our part if the repent of our sins, trust Him, and surrender to Him as Lord of our lives, so that we follow Him daily. That is the most sacred covenant, and we do well to keep it faithfully every day until we are with the Lord in heaven.

Tomorrow, I intend to read II Samuel 10-12.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Growing in the Lord

Once David was anointed king over all Israel, God continued to make him greater and greater. (II Samuel 5:10) This does not mean richer and richer. It does not just mean that he became more powerful. It means that he grew as a person and as the king, so the kingdom was stronger and stronger. That is what God wants for every believer. He wants us to grow, so His kingdom will expand.

How are you becoming greater and greater? If God is with you, that should be the case. God does not mean for us to remain the same. God is a God of growth. He wants us to get better and better, more holy. When we do, by allowing the Spirit to fill us and guide us, we will see progress in our lives and in our area of ministry. Why would God wants us to be stagnant in our lives? That would mean that we never became more fruitful or more useful to Him and His kingdom work.

I pray that we all will set our minds and hearts on growing in the Lord. If we will do that, He will show us how to be controlled by His Spirit, so that His presence will guide us and empower us to become greater and greater for Him all the time.

Tomorrow, I intend to read II Samuel 6-9.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Answered Prayers

One great think about the Lord  is that He loves to answer prayers. Therefore, all prayers that come from a sincere heart that trusts Him are answered. He may say yes, no, or wait, but He always answers us when we come to Him seeking His will and wisdom. David knew that as much as anyone. (I Samuel 30:8,18) He had many answered prayers, and we can learn from this example.

David and the men of his army suffered a crushing loss, when as they were away from Ziklag, the city was burned, and the Amalekites took all of the people and their possessions with them. When the army returned to find out what happened, they were speaking of stoning David. However, David did the right thing by inquiring of the Lord to show him the next step to take. God always answers our prayers for wisdom. Also, God's answer was very specific. That is how we can know that God has answered. He does exactly what He says He will do. We do have to act in faith to do our part, though. David had to pursue the Amalekites, and his men had to fight, but God allowed them to recover everything. What a blessing. God had mercy on David. I believe his willingness to seek God for the answer pleased God, and it led to God having mercy on all of them. We need to depend on God for everything. When He sees our humble hearts, He will answer our prayers.

Tomorrow, I intend to read II Samuel 2-5.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Unanswered Prayers

There are some prayers that God does not answer, and there are some people whom God does not answer when they pray. This should be a concern to all of us, because we all need for God to hear us and to answer our prayers. Saul was rejected by God because of his failure to obey God and honor God. The result was that he cried out to God about what to do as the commander of the armies of Israel, but God did not answer. (I Samuel 28:6) Let's consider what causes God not to answer our prayers.

God answers those who trust Him. He usually does not answer those who just pray to Him to get themselves out of a bind, but they do not follow Him the rest of the time. If he did answer those people, He would be condoning their unbelief, and their desire to use Him for a brief time. Also, God does not answer prayers that are just for our desires, selfish prayers. James tells us this truth. If we just want to get something to make us more wealthy or happy, God does not hear us. Also, if we fully reject the Lord like Saul, then, God does not hear us. He sees our hearts, and He knows well who is serious about loving Him and being submitted to His will. In short, prayer is about finding God's will, not getting our will done. Therefore, to be answered we must pray in faith for God's will to be done, not ours.

Tomorrow, I intend to read I Samuel 30-31 and II Samuel 1.