Tag: Trust

Jealous of Evil?

Sometimes — as I have discussed before — we ask the question, why do good things happen to bad people? Here David addresses that. I can’t help but wonder if this was written shortly after David was being persecuted by Saul, who remained king of Israel while David hid in caves and was exiled from Israel. And so possibly David found himself struggling with jealousy over the success and abundance being experienced by Saul during that leave time for himself. But eventually, as he continued to do what was right, God delivered the kingdom into his hands as Saul fell to the Philistines.

So it is for us. We mustn’t be jealous of those who don’t fear the Lord; those who are doomed to an eternity separated from Him and, therefore, from every good and perfect thing. One day they will die and stand in judgement before the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. As for us? David encourages to be patient. And in so doing demonstrate the trust we claim to have in Him.

A Call to Action

David’s simple psalm carries a straightforward message. That the one who is not held accountable for his misdeeds is blessed. But when we try to hide our sins away, God allows their consequences to do us harm. It is only once we confess that we are freed from the (spiritual) consequences of sin. So don’t be stubborn! Take it to God while you still have time. None of us knows how many days we have left. And don’t bear the weight of your sin alone! Share it with a sister or brother and take it to the Lord. Indeed the truth shall set you free.

(Not) Having All The Answers

I’ll just say it… 2 Samuel says that God told David to take a census (then punished him for it), whereas 1 Chronicles says that Satan led David to take a census and then God punished him for it. I find the theories online quite unsatisfying and I find it frustrating that I don’t have anything to put in the place of these theories. I was deep-diving into the Hebrew and looking at sentence structure and asking my wife what she thought of this or that observation. Then she said something wonderful in its simplicity. Sometimes we don’t have the answers. That’s not to say that the answer is un-findable (because I fully intend to find it and yeah, I will update you all when I do!), but rather that these secondary issues are not ones on which we need to get hung-up. The cross of Christ is primary and all these other items are grow, learn, discuss, and deepen our faith, but we don’t need to be afraid of not having a solution or a perfect understanding immediately.

If you ever find yourself unsure about something when reading the Bible… that’s okay. You don’t need to be afraid of it. God is still God. Jesus is still Jesus. And in time, with study and dedication these answers will come. At the very least we will be satisfied when we stand before the Lord with unveiled faces.

Be blessed tonight my friends.

2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21, 22 | 122/365

Dealing with Nay Sayers

Today’s devo is a quick thought, something that hit my heart, but not an exegetical deep-dive. David’s son Absalom — still brooding over the injustice in the wake of his sister’s rape and his excommunication following his action in avenging that wrong — seeks to take the throne of his father by force. David, wanting to avoid a bloody battle, flees to safety in the wilderness.

No sooner has he left the boundary of Jerusalem than Shimei, a relative of Saul spots him. Shimei throws rocks, dirt, and insults at David. He is obnoxious to the point that one of David’s men requests to cut Shimei’s head off. David says no, perhaps this rebuke is from the Lord — and even if it isn’t, let God deal with him. And they continue to move on until eventually the man gave up and went home.

You will come across people like this. David knows that he did everything he could to treat Saul fairly and leave his fate to God, yet he made no attempt to defend himself. Instead David took it on the chin, allowed the man to have his impotent rage and keep moving forward1.

Don’t spend your time thinking about the people who condemn you for things about which they are ignorant. If you are criticized; 1) hear it, 2) pray about it, and 3) evaluate it. But if it is meritless and nothing can be learned or gleaned… ignore it. Yes, those people will continue to natter away, but eventually the truth will show itself. I am fond of saying, “A person’s character will find them out”.

Trust God to take care of the stone & dirt throwers.

2 Sam 15:1-17:14 | 118/365
  1. David would keep a LONG memory, however, as we will see in the coming chapters. ↩︎

What’s In It For Me?

From David’s early life, it’s easy to see why he became so beloved. His respect for God’s plan and timing, his patience, his loyalty, his desire for peace, his goal of unity in the kingdom of Israel. Quite a stark difference from Saul’s near-mad behaviour, likely due to the tormenting spirit sent by God. I personally imagine this spirit to be less of a malevolent being causing mischief in Saul’s mind and more of a withdrawing of the grace of God that had previously protected Saul from his natural tendencies. But either way these two kings ran things quite differently. And when we look at the wider behaviour throughout the kingdom we can see why David stood out above the pack (and why he loved Jonathan so much — his heart was also for the Lord and for unity in Israel).

Ishbosheth (Saul’s son) accuses Abner (Saul’s general) of having an affair with his wife. While Abner never actually denies it (at least according to what’s recorded) he does get quite upset with the accusation and switches to David’s side. Abner offers to use his political connections to bring the other tribes to the unification table. David is fine with this.

BUT Joab (David’s general) does like this and executes a plot to kill Abner. Upon learning of Abner’s death David mourns and curses Joab and his brother for what they’ve done. David is NOT fine with this.

THEN a pair of brothers (Recab and Baanah, Ishbosheth’s captains) plot to kill Ishbosheth. They do so successfully and bring his head to David in another attempt to curry favour. They are executed for this act. David is NOT fine with this.

David is trying to bring unity, but everyone else is just looking out for #1. Motivated by personal sleight, revenge, or political power. And all of these motivations result in death and destruction!

This is a powerful reminder in our own lives. If we are just chasing things that bring us pleasure rather than seeking the Lord, what we are ACTUALLY chasing is our own destruction. Now, it may not come as quickly as it did for Joab, Abner, Recab, and Baanah, but it will come. Let’s keep our eyes fixed on the Lord and leave the rest up to Him.

2 Samuel 3:6-4:12 | 111/365

Providence, Self-Restraint, & Contradictions

There was too much in today’s passage to choose a single item, so here are some quick-hit thoughts on a couple different parts of what we read.

Providence: David and his troops set out with the Philistines on their campaign into Israel, but several of the Philistine leaders do not trust David and send him home. During that campaign Saul and his son (David’s beloved friend, Jonathan) are killed. Note how God used the Philistines to help David maintain his position of innocence in the death of the king to whose throne he stands next in line? God’s providence is incredible. This is why we should praise God for closed doors… and He isn’t done!

Self-Restraint: Because David could not go on the Philistine campaign, he was forced to return home… where he found Ziklag had been raided by the Amalekites (he wouldn’t have known this until it was far too late if he HAD successfully accompanied the Philistines)! Then, with all his 600 men ready to revolt David pauses to consult the Lord. “God, should we go after these raiders?” WHAT? Gut-check time: would you do this? If your family had been abducted would you ask God how to proceed, or would you go full Liam Neeson? I’m forced to admit that I likely would not take the time to consult God here. This is an area of growth for me, at least. Possibly for you as well?

Contradictions: In 1 Samuel and 1 Chronicles we are told that Saul fell on his sword and died after being wounded by a Philistine arrow. But an Amalekite found David and told quite a different story about killing the wounded king would clearly would not survive. What are we to make of this? The Bible is clearly in historical error… better burn it and turn from our faith… right? This is one of those “contradictions” that never made any sense to me. There are two primary theories for how to reconcile these accounts. The one that was proposed by my Bible College Prof was that this Amalekite stumbled upon Saul and his armour bearer on their swords, but not quite dead and finished them off. This is plausible and you can believe this if you find it compelling. I think it needlessly complicates things. This Amalekite lived in Israel as a foreigner and knew that David was heir to the throne of Saul. So, seeing his dead body, took the crowd and armband to David and took credit for the final blow I an attempt to curry favour with David. It… uh… didn’t work.

Have a fantastic day trusting in God’s faithful guidance!

1 Samuel 30-31; 1 Chronicles 9:40-44, 10:1-14, 12:20-22; 2 Samuel 1, 4:4 | 109/365

God’s Timing

David has an opportunity to kill his relentless pursuer; Saul. Egged on by his own troops, David creeps toward Saul with his sword drawn, but at the last moment, rethinks it. And after rethinking it, David decides the life — or the throne — of what he terms “God’s anointed one”. Saul is an objectively terrible leader. He leave Israel vulnerable to attack in his unwavering Ahab-like goal of killing David — his white whale. But the fact remains that God put him in place and as David so aptly puts it: ‘Perhaps the LORD will punish you, but I never will.’ David knows he was anointed to be king by Samuel. David knows Saul is not serving the Lord. David knows the power is in his hands to end this tyrannical reign and yet he chooses to defer to God.

Do we do this? Are we willing to wait for what God has for us? Are we willing to be patient? Are we willing to trust God’s plan? And are we willing to trust God’s timing? If you weren’t sure about these answers, then here is an opportunity for growth. Pray that God would give you these gifts, and that you would be able to see things as He does. This is something God showed me through 4 long, tough years. But once I finally learned to really trust his plan and timing… it was amazing! So freeing. So relaxing. So worth it.

1 Samuel 23:13-25:44; Psalm 54 | 107/365

Step Into Your Destiny

Samuel anointed David as the new king over God’s people. Now David is hiding in a cave with his merry band of 400 rejects while the current monarch and his bloodthirsty hangers-on plot to assassinate him. And from that circumstance David pens this:

I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Psalm 57:9-10

Things are looking about as bleak as they can and yet David declares God’s faithfulness. I pray that I can have the faith to trust in God’s promises when they are looking unlikely, I would advise you to do the same. Don’t be afraid if you don’t understand how the road you’re on will lead to the place God has called you. Indeed, sometimes it is a long and winding road.

He is faithful. Let’s act like we believe that.

1 Samuel 22:1-23:12; Psalm 52, 57, 142; 1 Chronicles 12:8-18 | 106/365

The Praise of the Punished

A simple but challenging thought today. God tells Moses he will not be allowed to go to the promised Land because, like his brother, he “broke faith” (NIV) with God. Moses appealed his conviction, but God’s mind was made up. Moses would not be successful in his advocacy as he had been in the past.

Then Moses writes two songs, one recorded in Psalms, and one recorded in Deuteronomy. While we don’t know exactly when the Psalm was written, do do know — based on it’s placement in Deuteronomy — that the other was near the end of his life. Just before he was to die. So close and yet so far from the promise toward which he had been leading the Lord’s people for the last 4 decades.

And how does this man, facing punishment and denied the Promised Land describe the God who punished and denied him?

Great, Perfect, Just, Upright, Maker, Feeder, Nourisher, Rock, Saviour, Life.

Oh to have that perspective! Lord help me to see you as you are even when I am facing the earned consequences of my own actions. Thank you Jesus. Thank you for your justice as well as your mercy. Help me to understand that I deserve the former and have done nothing to earn the latter. Help me to rejoice in the hope you have given me in the next life, even if I am subject to You wrath in this one. Though You slay me, yet will I trust in You (Job 13:15)

Deuteronomy 31:30-32:52; Psalm 90 | 080/365

Under My Own Power

I often see people cite Deuteronomy 17:17 when talking about David and Solomon, both of whom had multiple wives. And in the case of Solomon (who neared 1,000 when you factor in concubines) we see the direct statement in 1 Kings 11:3 that this did indeed result in his heart of hearts being led astray. But God never addresses Polygamy head-on as a perversion of marriage even though it is CLEARLY in contravention of Genesis 2:24 & Matthew 19:5-6.

But I actually don’t think this passage (17:17) addresses the king having more than one wife any more than the previous verse addresses the king having more than one horse (17:16). These two verses are about how Israel is to run itself as a nation, and not really about the behaviour of the king specifically. At this time there still was no king. Nor would there be for a while to come. They have the reign of Joshua still ahead of them, then the Judges… then the Kings. No what’s happening here is the establishment of a new nation with guiding principles. And God recognizes that how the king (or queen or whatever head-of-state) conducts himself will signal to the people how things ought to be done. The king is accountable for what he models for his people.

All of that to say, let’s look at what each of these prohibitions means.

  1. The king may not acquire a great number of horses — God doesn’t care how many horses the king has. God is not telling the king to be a one-horse man. Rather, the horse was a symbol of military strength. God didn’t want Israel to hoard weapons of mass destruction because they were to rely on Him! He says as much in 20:1! Amassing military strength demonstrated a lack of trust in the God who brought them out of slavery in Egypt. Solomon did this in spades (1 Kings 10:26)!
  2. The king may not send to Egypt for horses — Egyptian horses were considered to be the best horses in the Ancient Near East, taller and larger than the northern breeds. So you can see why the temptation to buy some of those sweet Egyptian studs might have been large. But the problem here is that God delivered the people FROM enslavement in Egypt, so to turn BACK to the enslaver for protection rather than the God who showed his might against them is a slap in the face to God. Solomon, of course, did this too (1 Kings 10:29). And was called out for in Isaiah 30:1-5.
  3. The king may not take many wives — This was less about marriage and more about treaties with other nations. It was common to make a deal with the king of another nation and secure it with a marriage. A son from one side would marry a daughter from the other. This was — essentially — using children as a sort of contract signature. To highlight the strength of the bond between the two nations. Why did this matter, though? Because it was a sign of political strength. Why would Nation X try to attack me if I have the support through treaties with Nations A, B, and C? And, of course, Nation E cannot attack because we have a treaty between the two of us. Once again, God is our peace and protector. We should not be trying to do his job! God doesn’t like it when we sit on His throne. And of course, these close bonds lead to adoption of worldviews, ideas, and beliefs — all of which can (and do) draw us away from God. And yes, Solomon did this as well (1 Kings 11:1-13).
  4. The king may not amass silver and gold — This is monetary strength. Having a “war chest” of sorts. Riches and opulence give us a sense of security. Confidence. Importance. Again, this is a distraction. We shouldn’t seek to acquire money just for the sake of having the money. God is our provider, not ourselves. We need to be good stewards, we need to work hard, we need to make the most of the gifts & blessings God has given us… but that doesn’t mean we bask in it, embrace it, and love it. In fact we are warned quite sternly that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). And yes, Solomon also fell into this trap (1 Kings 10:27).

So then, should we marry as many people as we like? No. Of course not. But we also need to remember to trust in God’s provision and protection. This is not a call to recklessness or a vow of poverty, but it is a call to put every decision before the Lord and allow Him to make use of what you have been given. Don’t make and execute a plan then invite God to tag along. He’s not your kid brother. Go to God and ask Him to guide you through the planning process. Stop along the way and listen for his voice/leading.

Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9 | 076/365