Monday, March 31, 2014

Unwise about women...

1 Kings 11:1-6 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done. For all of his wisdom and wealth, Solomon still had a weakness - women. As we read, it was a whopping weakness. Just as using many words increases the possibility of sinning, having many wives increases the possibility of sinning. It is not that women are inherently evil, but that Solomon did not see God as sufficient for his every need. It is almost like he had to eat every apple to make sure that God was telling him the truth: Do not marry any of these pagan women. He was not fully devoted to God; he did not follow Him completely; his passion for women was greater than his passion for God. Who knows what greater greatness could have marked his reign, if it had not been so. What a warning to us: if a man with such great wisdom fell, how much more we of simple minds will fall, if we do not fully follow God and His commands.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Keeping things straight...

1 Kings 9:4-9 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’ “But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the Lord brought all this disaster on them.’” Solomon has just dedicated the Temple to The Lord. As a bonus, he has build a beautiful palace. He has asked God not for riches or power, but for wisdom. All would seem to be set, done, in order, and ready to ride. But God appears to him again, to remind him that this is not the end, but the beginning of his commitment. It is a daily walk of integrity of heart - humbly and sincerely seeking to love and serve the King of Kings. In the same way, our relationship with The Lord is not a one-time decision or commitment, or even a series of actions and rituals, but an ongoing, deepening relationship that results in increasing submission to His will. May we see new ways to obey Him today!

Friday, March 28, 2014

What to do after we pray...

Now as Solomon finished offering all this prayer and plea to the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, where he had knelt with hands outstretched toward heaven. And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying, “Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers. Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.” (1 Kings 8:54-61 ESV) Solomon had just poured out his heart to God at the dedication of the Temple. In short, he asked God to hear all the prayers of confession that came before Him at the temple, whether it be the sins of individuals, their leaders, or the nation as a whole. He asked that God would hear and forgive. Rather than seeing God as living in a box (the Ark of the Covenant), Solomon realized God is bigger than the temple, than their nation, than the world, and every prayer has His ear. As he concludes his prayer, he asks for one more thing - that God would give his people a heart to obey. After we pray for everything else, let's not forget that one. If we forget a heart to obey, we will find ourselves needing a lot more prayers for forgiveness.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

More than one could ask for...

Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” (1 Kings 3:3-14 ESV) God wants to bless His people. There is so much He wants to give us. He wants to answer our prayers. He wants to guide our decisions. He wants people to be able to look at us and see His hand in our lives. What does that require? For us to love Him. For us to ask for HIS will first. For us to graciously receive what He chooses to give. For us to live our lives as His gift to us. What more could we ask for?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Who is NOT invited...

1 Kings 1:5-10 Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, “I will be king.” So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him. His father had never rebuked him by asking, “Why do you behave as you do?” He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom. Adonijah conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they gave him their support. But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei and Rei and David’s special guard did not join Adonijah. Adonijah then sacrificed sheep, cattle and fattened calves at the Stone of Zoheleth near En Rogel. He invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the royal officials of Judah, but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the special guard or his brother Solomon. When David was up in years and about to be replaced he had another son with his eye on the throne. Adonijah took every step to have himself proclaimed king. He wanted everyone's approval EXCEPT the one who was supposed to be king, and those whom God appointed to proclaim and anoint the true king. So Adonijah just didn't invite them. Who we do NOT invite says as much or more about our motives than who we do. Why do we want to exclude them? Is there something wrong with our motives? May we search our hearts.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Most Faithful Friends

2 Samuel 23:13-17 During harvest time, three of the thirty chief warriors came down to David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” So the three mighty warriors broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the Lord. “Far be it from me, Lord, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” And David would not drink it.Such were the exploits of the three mighty warriors. As we look at the life of David, at times it seemed like the world was against him. But he always had those who were faithful to him - especially these three hero friends. They knew his heart and vision. They were Zealous for The Lord like he was. What David was expressing here was far more than a desire for water; it was a burden for his hometown of Bethlehem. If they were able to get this water under the noses of the Philistines, there was hope for the deliverance of Bethlehem from the hands of the Philistines. His refusal to drink the water when brought to him was not a slight to his faithful friends, but a sign that he would not rest until Bethlehem was free. His friends knew that and were not insulted. They know their friend. Who do we have who is so faithful to us? To whom are we so faithful???

Monday, March 24, 2014

When we come out the other side, guess Who is there?

2 Samuel 22:1-6 David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,my shield and the horn of my salvation.He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent people you save me. “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,and have been saved from my enemies. The waves of death swirled about me;the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me;the snares of death confronted me. After Absalom's coup, there were a number of others who gave David grief, but The Lord delivered him from them all. At the end of the day, David gave a song of praise to The Lord. Introduced in these verses, this psalm recognizes how he was so victorious - it is all about Who God is. God was there all along, giving David success, even when it seemed like the world was against him. The same is true for us. He is there; let us not forget Him.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Long Road back

2 Samuel 18:5-8 2 Samuel 19:14 The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake.” And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders. David’s army marched out of the city to fight Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. There Israel’s troops were routed by David’s men, and the casualties that day were great—twenty thousand men. The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest swallowed up more men that day than the sword. He won over the hearts of the men of Judah so that they were all of one mind. They sent word to the king, “Return, you and all your men.” After Absalom had died in battle, David could not just waltz back into Jerusalem. His running from his son had left doubts in many hearts and minds. He had to win back the hearts of his people. He took it by steps, meeting with different groups of leaders: generals, priests, and representatives of the different tribes of Israel, making sure that he had their trust and allegiance. He made stops on his return trip to make sure his relationships were right. There were not those without their doubts, or outright opposition, but step by step, relationship by relationship, he was restored to the throne in Jerusalem. When we experience failure or alienation, we cannot expect people to just "get over it" immediately. We need to restore, rebuild, reconnect.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Obeying the Heart of the King...

2 Samuel 18:5-15 The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake.” And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders. David’s army marched out of the city to fight Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. There Israel’s troops were routed by David’s men, and the casualties that day were great—twenty thousand men. The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest swallowed up more men that day than the sword. Now Absalom happened to meet David’s men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom’s hair got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going. When one of the men saw what had happened, he told Joab, “I just saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree.” Joab said to the man who had told him this, “What! You saw him? Why didn’t you strike him to the ground right there? Then I would have had to give you ten shekels of silver and a warrior’s belt.” But the man replied, “Even if a thousand shekels were weighed out into my hands, I would not lay a hand on the king’s son. In our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘Protect the young man Absalom for my sake.’ And if I had put my life in jeopardy—and nothing is hidden from the king—you would have kept your distance from me.” Joab said, “I’m not going to wait like this for you.” So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree. And ten of Joab’s armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him. Joab heard exactly what King David had said. Everyone did. Yet it didn't seem to phase him when the opportunity to take Absalom out arrived; he went overboard in making sure he was dead. How often do we think we know better than the King, doing things a "better" way. And we even go overboard, in some way thinking we are proving to God how much we love Him. But true love for God is shown by obeying Him, even if it doesn't make sense to our "superior" minds. May we love Him lavishly today by obeying Him fully.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Willing to Endure...

Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.” But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing today.” (2 Samuel 16:9-12 ESV) As David trod through the deepest days of his life, he had a very realistic perspective. He knew that some of his suffering was due to his own sin - his different wives, his adultery, and other bad choices had brought him to this point. But he also knew that some of it was unjust: Absalom did not have the right to take the throne by deception or force, and many of the accusations made against him were untrue. Yet, he was willing to go through the scrutiny of suffering and be sifted. He was willing to allow God to use this experience clinging to the proven hope that God is good and just and dependable. What are we willing to endure without complaint or retaliation, so God can purify us and bring the truth to light? Are we willing to let God be God?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

David's Darkest Days

But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went. (2 Samuel 15:30 ESV) The middle section of II Samuel tells us about the hardest time in David's life. He had waited for years to become King of Israel, many times barely escaping death. God had raised him to greatness and David had proven himself "a man after God's own heart." But David's fall in pursing Bathsheba set in motion consequences that would intensify and last for years. The loss of the child, family feuds, and now, running for his life because of a coup aimed at his assassination. As dark as those days were, David retreats, but does not surrender. God had promised him that he would not build a temple, but his heir would. He still has much to do to prepare for that. God is not done with him yet. Things are still not at their lowest, but God will see David through the valley, and on to higher heights. God continues to be with us in the deepest darkest days.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Promise of Perpetuity

2 Samuel 7:12-16 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’” This promise of God to David became a cornerstone of hope for not only David's descendants, but for all of Israel. It was this hope that kept them going at the lowest points of their history - his throne is established forever. There is something we all look for - lasting beyond our days, influence beyond the present, not just living for today. Yet, we so easily forget the promises of God and live just for today, as if there is no history and no hope. May today be a day we allow God to remind us of the big picture and the hope that lies before us.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


And David said to him, “How did it go? Tell me.” And he answered, “The people fled from the battle, and also many of the people have fallen and are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.” Then David said to the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” And the young man who told him said, “By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear, and behold, the chariots and the horsemen were close upon him. And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called to me. And I answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ And he said to me, ‘Stand beside me and kill me, for anguish has seized me, and yet my life still lingers.’ So I stood beside him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.” Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the LORD and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. And David said to the young man who told him, “Where do you come from?” And he answered, “I am the son of a sojourner, an Amalekite.” David said to him, “How is it you were not afraid to put out your hand to destroy the LORD's anointed?” Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go, execute him.” And he struck him down so that he died. And David said to him, “Your blood be on your head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the LORD's anointed.’” (2 Samuel 1:4-16 ESV) David had been waiting years to receive the kingship God had promised him. Now, Saul is finally dead and there is light at the end of the tunnel. But rather than rejoice, David continues to wait on God's order. Rather than thanking this young man for "helping things along", David shows he is a man of convictions and refuses to show any disrespect to his king, Saul. It is this very consistency of character that made David God's choice to be king. He was still the young man at heart who became angered when anyone threatened the reputation or plan of God like Goliath had. David was the man after God's own heart we should determine to be.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Hard, High and Holy Calling of a P.K.

On the celebration of our youngest son's birthday, I am reminded of how hard it can be to be a P.K. (Preacher's Kid). Not only do we have five; I am one myself. As a P.K., you don't just have to measure up to your parents' standards; you have to measure up to those of dozens of on-looking families. You end up doing all sorts of things no other kid has to do (clean when no-one else will; listen to EVERY message of the preacher; be at church when no one else comes.) But you also GET to do these things. You get to see what no one else does. It is a high and holy calling to be in the home committed to serving the Lord and others. It is not that the preacher is perfect (just ask my kids), but God has placed us in a privileged (though in a sense, spiritually dangerous) place. I have to truly say, as hard as it is, I am thankful for the calling, and thankful for each of our wonderful kids. Happy birthday Son. Love all of you kids.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Women: Often God's Divine intervention...

1 Samuel 25:32-34 David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. 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.” As godly of a man as David was, waiting for God's timing to make him king, He was not by any means perfect. He was just as likely as the next guy to do something impulsive and stupid. A case in point is his initial response to the rejection by Nabal to his request for food. He wanted to react against such ingratitude and arrogance with a swift sword. (Maybe displaced anger against Saul???) But God moves Nabal's wife to intervene in a very wise way. Her action not only spares many innocent people; it prevents David from doing something stupid. Praise God for my wife often being in tune with God's plan to keep me from stupid!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Just what we need to hear...

1 Samuel 24:16-22 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 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. 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. I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 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.” So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold. David has been on the run from King Saul, who, filled with envy, has been pursuing David in every way possible to take his life. David has just had the opportunity to take Saul's life, but he did not; he refuses to displace God's anointed king so he can take over, fulfilling God's promise. He now receives from Saul the words of vindication he needs to keep on going: David is right; Saul has been wrong. Saul has blown it; David will be king. David is in the place to make the decisions; Saul is not. To be sure, this game of cat and mouse is not over; David is still not "safe", but he has the assurance his way is the right way - trusting God for His time and His way to keep His promises.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Conceit or Conviction???

1 Samuel 17:28-37 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.” “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him. David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” Both David's older brother and King Saul questioned David's sanity and sincerity, accusing him of being overly confident in his abilities. Yet David pressed the issue here, being confident not in himself, but what God could do with someone who really cared about His holiness enough to take a stand. I'm afraid most of us usually err to the other side - we lack confidence and conviction, lest we look conceited to a skeptical world around us. May we first of all seek to have a heart like David did - fully confident and dependent upon God. Then, may we act courageously on our convictions to do whatever He calls on us to do.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

What God is looking for...

1 Samuel 16:7-13 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. Samuel was crushed. After being rejected and replaced by Saul as Israel's leader, the project had failed. Saul had seemed like the prime candidate for the job. In desperation he watched as one by one the sons of Jesse appeared before him, and one by one, God said "no." Even the experienced eyes of this man of God could not see what God did. But God knows what He is doing. Notice how the ESV translates the next-to-last sentence here: "the Spirit of The Lord rushed upon David from that day forward." What a rush!. It was not up to David to deliver Israel. It was up to him to allow the Holy Spirit to work within and through him. That is what God is looking for in us today. What does He see in my heart?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pointing everywhere else...

1 Samuel 13:8-14 He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” This is one of those sad passages. King Saul has been inaugurated as King, has gained the support of the people, and seems well on his way to a positive, profitable reign. Then we sense we have reverted to the Fall all over again: when Saul is confronted with his fearful "I-have-to-resolve-this-on-my-own" reaction, he points to everyone else: the people were scattering, you were late, the Philistines were threatening - "It's everyone else's fault!" Blaming everyone else cost him dearly, and it does us as well.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Simply put by Samuel...

1 Samuel 12:14-15 If you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well. But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king. After everyone doing "whatever was right in his own eyes," (Judges), the Israelites are now ready to do so in mass. Somehow they believed a stronger State would save them. They had had a King all along, but wanted one they could see, touch, and manipulate. We have not progressed much farther - maybe even reverted some - thinking the State is our savior, provider, and worthy of our worship. We often forget that sovereign over the state is Someone who made and owns it all, and Who is truly worthy of our worship, obedience, and full devotion. Worship the Real King.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Passionate Praying

As she continued praying before the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. (1 Samuel 1:12-18 ESV) This is one of those "I've-read-it-a-dozen-times-before-but-never-noticed" passages. We all remember Hannah praying for a child, but the passion here is so deep, she is mistaken for drunk, fully engaged in praying, pouring out her soul. What she comes away with is more than a son - she now has peace, and it shows on her face! May we take that time, spend that passion, and have and show His peace today.