God Will Take Care of You

God Will Take Care of You

Today’s Passage – 2 Kings 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 9 – 10; Proverbs 27; Psalms 131 – 135

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “0427 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. … Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.” – (2 Kings 4:1, 7)

There are some mornings when I have a difficult time finding something interesting to write about from the Scripture reading for the day. However, the three chapters that we have read this morning from 2 Kings 4 – 6 are full of exciting stories from the life of Elisha. I have chosen this morning to consider the story of the widow woman who was miraculous provided for by God. The story is found in 2 Kings 4: 1 – 7, and speaks of a woman was the wife of one of the prophets, and was now left alone to care for her two sons. She has nothing left but a pot of oil in her house. The creditors are bearing down on her, and want to take her two sons as bondmen in order to repay a debt that is owed them. She comes to the man of God for help, and he instructs her to borrow vessels from her neighbors that will hold oil. Elisha takes the little bit of oil that she has and pours it into the other containers that the woman borrowed from her neighbors. The oil did not run out until all of the vessels were filled, which she was then able to go and sell so that she would be able to pay the debt that she owed.

There are two thoughts that I would like to pull from this passage. The first involves debt. The Scripture says, “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” – (Proverbs 22:7). The passage does not give us any of the details regarding the reason why this woman was in debt. It may have been a debt that she inherited from her dead husband. Anyway, she has a debt that is causing her a lot of trouble. I got to thinking about what kind of financial situation my wife would be in if I passed away suddenly today. I would leave her with the burden of some debt. We are in the process of making some changes in our financial decisions so that all of our debt would be eliminated. I would not want to leave my wife with the kind of pressure this woman had to face.

My second thought from this passage is that God took care of this lady who had given her life to serve Him. She was the wife of one of the prophets, and prophets lived by faith. They had no doubt made many financial sacrifices in the process of serving the Lord. I understand a little about what she is going through. When we sold our house, and packed up our stuff and headed for Bible college, we knew that we were entering a journey of faith and sacrifice. We have had to live without a lot of things throughout the years; but one of the things that we have had to do away with was insurance. Since we have been in the ministry, we have been unable to afford health insurance or life insurance. I know that this is not good stewardship, but when you are forced to choose between food on the table or an insurance policy to protect you from something that may or may not happen, you can see why we might go uninsured. This is a great source of worry for my wife particularly. However, this passage reminds us that even though we may not be the best financial planners, God takes care of those that have given their life in service for Him. He will take care of my family. Don’t misunderstand, someday I want to be able to provide some of these comforting benefits like insurance for my family; but for now, I know that God has got my family’s back.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – (Matthew 6:33)


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Still Calling Down Fire

elijahandfirefromheavenToday’s Passage – 2 Kings 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 7 – 8Proverbs 26; Psalms 126 – 130

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8

Read the “0426 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.” (2 Kings 1:12)

In 2 Kings 2, Elijah passes the mantle on to Elisha, and he is caught up to Heaven. Presmably, 2 Kings 1 is recording an event that took place shortly before the Lord took Elijah home to Heaven. You will remember also that back in 1 Kings 19, Elijah was discouraged, and on the run from Jezebel, and had requested that God take his life from him. He was down and depressed, but not out completely. It appears that though Elijah was discouraged in 1 Kings 19, he had picked himself back up, and was still calling down fire from Heaven right up until the Lord took him home. The ministry can be very discouraging at times, but we must not quit. Elijah didn’t.

In our passage today in 1 Kings 1, Elijah calls down fire from Heaven twice and destroys one captain and 50 men that were sent from King Ahaziah to apprehend him. Elijah had previously sent word to the wicked king that his days were numbered, and the king wanted to speak to Elijah personally about it, so he sent an army to get him. Elijah didn’t feel “lead of God” to go, so he called down fire and destroyed the army. The king then sends another captain and another fifty men, and Elijah does the same thing. A third captain and another fifty soldiers are sent, but this time they very humbly beg Elijah to go with them, and Elijah does so. However, the message to the king does not change, and Elijah personally tells Ahaziah that he is about to die. My point is that God was still demonstrating his power, and declaring his message through Elijah right up until the end of his life.

I am thinking this morning about some men of God in our day that are still being used of the Lord in a tremendous way, even though they are well past the retirement years. I pray that I will still be in the game like Elijah, and like these men today, at the end of my life. I know my job description may change somewhat, but I do not wish to ever retire. I want to just keep going, doing what I am doing now, right up until the chariots come for me.

 


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And What Does Your Bible Say? – The Saturday Morning Post

Multi Bibles

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 5 – 6; Proverbs 25; Psalms 121 – 125

Read the “0425 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day. Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.” (1Kings 22:5-6)

“And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot. And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country. So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria. And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake.” (1Kings 22:34-38)

Good morning. Here in our passage today we have around 400 men telling the kings to go to battle against the city of Ramothgilead. Then we read towards the end of the chapter, king Ahab died in battle. The sad thing is that Ahab had access to the truth…

“And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak. So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD? And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace. And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.” (1Kings 22:14-23)

Micaiah gave Ahab the truth, yet the kings still went to battle. Do you have the truth? The King James Bible is God’s preserved Word for English speaking people. The other versions are like the 400 prophets telling Ahab to go to battle.

Let’s take a look at the New King James Version. Many are assuming that it was only the thee’s and the thou’s were changed. Thomas Nelson – the publishers of the New King James said that they’ve changed some of the old archaic words to make it easier to read. Repent has been omitted in 44 places. Blood has been omitted in 23 places. Even God has been omitted in 66 places. How could they consider any or all of these words archaic, especially God?

Do you know what Keveh is? It’s a place, a region in southeastern Anatolia, named Cilicia by the Greeks. In the NKJV the verse reads…

“Also Solomon had horses imported from Egypt and Keveh; the king’s merchants bought them in Keveh at the current price.” (1Kings 10:28)

This tells us that Solomon imported horses from Egypt and Keveh and he must have got a better deal from the Egyptians: he paid the current price in Keveh. Now, if you look at the King James Bible…

“And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price.” (1Kings 10:28)

The King James Bible tells us that Solomon received horses, and linen yarn from Egypt, but had to pay for the linen yarn. So what does Keveh have to do with this? The New King James Version was copyrighted in 1979. In order to copyright something, it must be an original work. Unless Thomas Nelson Publishers made enough changes to the King James Bible, they would not be able to copyright theirs.

Let’s look at another changed word. Ezekiel 31:14 says in the NKJV…

“The waters made it grow;

Underground waters gave it height,

With their rivers running around the place where it was planted,

And sent out rivulets to all the trees of the field.” (Ezekiel 31:14)

What are rivulets? The dictionary says it is a small brook or stream. But what does that have to do with what the King James Bible says…

“To the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves for their height, neither shoot up their top among the thick boughs, neither their trees stand up in their height, all that drink water: for they are all delivered unto death, to the nether parts of the earth, in the midst of the children of men, with them that go down to the pit.” (Ezekiel 31:14)

Which one is right? Things that are different are not the same. How about Syrtis Sands?

Acts 27:17 uses that in the NKJV…

“When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven.” (Acts 27:17)

The Syrtis Sands are located near Lybia in the Mediterranean Sea. But why would those on the ship fear that they would hit this sand? The King James Bible explains…

“Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven.” (Acts 27:17)

The King James Bible is written on a 5th grade level: it is the easiest Bible to understand. The King James Bible is the preserved Word of God for English speaking people. Why would you want one that is missing words, and has the meaning of some passages changed. And these are just a few of the many changes. If you click on the link above for the Blue Letter Bible, you can do verse comparisons with other versions. As for me, I’ll stick with the King James Bible, THE Bible. And THE Bible says…

“And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” (Luke 4:4)

Peace! (Proverbs 30:5)


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Humility

Humility

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 20 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 3 – 4; Proverbs 24; Psalms 116 – 120

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31

Read the “0424 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.” – (1 Kings 21:27-29)

Ahab was probably the worst king in Israel’s history. He tolerated all kinds of immorality and idolatry in his kingdom and even promoted it. He married Jezebel, a woman whose name has become synonomous with wickedness. Together, Ahab and Jezebel were responsible for the slaughter of many of the prophets of the Lord in Israel. These were bad people. Ahab was a bad man and an even worse king.

Notice, however, in the last part of chapter 21. Ahab humbled himself before the Lord. Now don’t misunderstand, this was not a complete turnaround. He didn’t surrender to go to the mission field or anything like that; but he did humble himself before the Lord; and as a result, God spared him some of the judgment that he had planned for him. Apparently, a little humility went a long way for Ahab.

I don’t think there are too many people reading this that are as wicked as old King Ahab; but it would do us well to follow his example in just this one instance. Let’s kill some of the pride in our lives and humble ourselves before the Lord. Let’s surrender to Him and submit ourselves to His will for our lives. Let’s allow him to correct us when necessary. It may just be that a little humility before the Lord will go a long way in our lives as well.

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10)


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Battling Discouragement

Battling Discouragement

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 18 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 1 – 2; Proverbs 23Psalms 111 – 115

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 27:15

Read the “0423 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” (1 Kings 19:4)

In our reading passage today we get to see one of the greatest recorded victories in the Bible of good over evil. Elijah, a mighty prophet of God who prophesied in Israel during a time of great apostasy, challenges the prophets of Baal (850 of the altogether) to come to Mt. Carmel in prove the power of their god. After many hours of crying out Baal, and even cutting themselves to please him, Baal never shows up. The God of Israel, however, does make an appearance, and at the request of Elijah sends down fire from Heaven and consumes the sacrifice that Elijah had prepared. He also sent along some desperately needed rain, which hadn’t happened in a couple of years. The people of Israel very wisely choose the Lord’s side, crying out, “the LORD, He is the God”,  and then they put to death all of the false prophets. All in all, it was a great day to be on the Lord’s side.

Something very strange happens immediately after this great victory, however. Queen Jezebel finds out about what happened to her prophets, and demands the death of Elijah. Elijah then runs for his life away from her. Why would he run? He just saw God do the impossible. The people just slaughtered all of the false prophets, and I am quite sure they would have killed Ahab and Jezebel had Elijah asked them to. Instead, Elijah runs, and then asks God to take his life.  It just doesn’t make sense.

If you carefully examine the story, however, you begin to see some of the underlying reasons for Elijah’s despair. First of all, let me state from personal experience that discouragement can ironically come sometimes after a great victory. I am not sure why that is, it just is. There is almost a feeling of emptiness after the battle to achieve something is finally concluded. I’m told Alexander the Great was distraught to the point of suicide after he conquered all the known world because there were no more cities to conquer. Elijah sure had more work to do; he could have conquered Jezebel, but maybe he was just tired of fighting the battles. I know of a preacher right now who has resigned his church, and is going into retirement. He has been fighting battles for over two decades in a very difficult place of ministry, and he is simply just tired. Elijah seems to have been just tired of fighting. The battles just keep coming, and his strength was depleted.

What can we do when battling discouragement:

1  Get Help – Elijah thought he was all alone, but God reminded him that there were 7000 men out there, and I am sure some women, too, that were on his team. They could have, and would have, helped him. Get help fighting the battle, and get somebody to help you with your discouragement. I am blessed to have many people in my life, seasoned men, that I can turn to for advice.

2  Get Rest – Elijah had run for days without rest, and without food; his physical strength was completely depleted. He needed a good, long rest; and some nourishment. That is exactly what the angel did for him:

And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.” (1 Kings 19:5-6)

3  Get Up – Don’t quit. Elijah should have asked the Lord for help and strength, but instead he asks the Lord to kill him. Quitting is never the answer. We may need to take some time out to replenish, but we should never leave the battle completely.

There will come a time in my life when God will be through with me, and at that time He will take me home to Heaven. Until that time comes, however, I need to stay encouraged, and stay in the battle. If God still wants me to fight, then He will give me everything that I need to keep fighting, including strength and encouragement.

By the way, if you are saved and your are not in the battle with the Lord, you will also be very discouraged, because God has not equipped you to sit on the sidelines. Find something to do for the Lord, and you will be greatly encouraged as you fulfill God’s purpose for your life.


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There – The Place of God’s Will

rock-water

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 15 – 17 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 15 – 16Proverbs 22Psalms 106 – 110

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Read the “0422 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.” (1 Kings 17:2-4)

“And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.” (1 Kings 17:8-9)

There are many wonderful truths in today’s Bible reading, but I want to draw your attention to the word “there” found in vs. 4 and 9 above from chapter 17 of 1 Kings. “There” represented a place – a geographic location where God wanted Elijah to go. Actually, “there” was two places. The first place God wanted Elijah to go was to the Brook Cherith. In this place God was going to sustain the prophet through meals provided by ravens. Cherith was a specific location. Had Elijah decided that he was going to go to some other geographic location, I do not think that God would have fed him. God’s will involves more than a place, but it does include a place.

Next, God commanded Elijah to travel to Zarephath, which is outside of the borders of Israel. It is important to point out that Elijah did not leave the Brook Cherith because the brook dried up, he left because God commanded him to. Anyway, in Zarephath a widow woman was prepared by God to take care of the needs of Elijah. There is a lot that could be said about how God provided for the widow woman and her son as well, but the point being made here is that God guided Elijah to a specific place where he would be taken care of, and used for God’s purposes.

Fourteen years ago, God directed my family to the place of His will – Galloway, New Jersey. I must confess that there have been times around here when I wanted to move on, times when the brook seemed to dry up, but I have never been told by God to move to another place. As much as I may desire at times to move to a place like Hawaii, that is simply not God’s will for my life. Galloway, NJ is my “there”. It is the place where God wants me; it is the place where God will provide for me and mine; and it is the place where God will use me.

Have you found the place of God’s will for your life? If you have, make the most of your time spent there. God may move you on to some other “there” someday, and if He does, He will make it crystal clear to you; but until that time comes, dig in, serve Him to the fullest, and enjoy your stay.


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Trust

old-bible-wide

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 12 – 14 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 13 – 14; Proverbs 21Psalms 101 – 105

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

Read the “0421 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

My attention this morning is drawn to chapter thirteen and the account of the prophet that was sent from the southern kingdom of Judah with a message for Jeroboam, the king of the northern kingdom, Israel. He was sent with a message of judgment to Jeroboam:

“And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.” (1 Kings 13:2 & 3)

At the end of this unpleasant meeting with Jeroboam, this un-named prophet is asked to go back with Jeroboam to get something to eat and to receive a reward. The prophet flatly refuses to go with Jeroboam because he was given strict instructions by God not to eat in Israel. On the way home, however, another man claiming to be a prophet asks him to go with him and get something to eat. This man lies to him and tells him that God told him that it was OK. As a result, the prophet from Judah goes with him; but soon discovers that he was tricked into disobeying the clear commandment of God; and it cost him his life.

Christian, you and I need to be careful who we listen to. Sometimes people pretending to represent God will come to us and try to get us to do things that are clearly against the plain teaching of the Word of God. We are to trust the Bible, and we can trust the men and women that preach and teach the Bible correctly; but the Bible itself is always the final authority. Be careful who you trust.

By the way, we also saw in chapter twelve that Reheboam listened to the counsel of the young men, rather than the counsel of the old men. The result was that the kingdom of Israel was split into two kingdoms. Again, we see here that you have to be very careful about who you listen to. I am not saying that it is always unwise to listen to young men, but we should always include in our cabinet of counselors some older men (and ladies) who have demonstrated that they have godly wisdom.


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What Happened?

What Happened

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 10 – 11 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 11 – 12; Proverbs 20Psalms 96 – 100

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0420 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” – (1 Kings 11:4 )

A good friend of mine, Pastor Charlie Horton, once told me that there are three things that will take a preacher down: ladies, lucre, and liberalism; or maids, money, and modernism. That statement has proven to be true. In the twenty years plus that I have been a Christian, I have seen many men of God wander out of the will of God; and in all of these cases it was one of those three things that caused them to veer off of the path. In our text, we see that Solomon’s problem primarily was the ladies. He had 1000 wives and concubines. Wow! How can it be that this man is know for his wisdom? Can you imagine having 1000 mother-in-laws? It would not have been so bad if all of these women shared the same love for the Lord that Solomon had; but, unfortunately, many of these women were heathen women that worshipped other “gods”. In order to please these women, Solomon accommodated for their false worship within the borders of Israel, and Solomon, himself, began to participate in the idolatry. Not very wise.

I do not think that women were the only attraction that lured Solomon out of the will of God. He was also very wealthy: wealthier than any man that ever lived. Jesus spoke about the difficulties that wealth imposes upon a right relationship with God. Wealth can certainly be a stumbling block also. The text also makes it clear that Solomon was also lured into doctrinal heresy. So, ultimately, Solomon fell prey to all three of the traps mentioned above. The tragedy is that Solomon was a very wise man, and should have seen the dangers ahead of time. I think he deliberately wandered off of the path. He chose to go astray with his eyes fully opened.

Passages of Scripture such as this scare me. Solomon was a much wiser man than I could ever be, yet he blew it. I have seen many others fall in my time that had a lot more on the ball than I do. It scares me, because I know that it could happen to me also. I hope it scares me enough to stay as far away from these traps (and others) so that I will finish my course inside the perfect will of God.

By the way, Solomon’s unwise decisions brought about unpleasant consequences:

“Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.” – (1 Kings 11:11)


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When God Moves In

revival

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 8 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 9 – 10Proverbs 19Psalms 91 – 95

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0419 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.” – (1 Kings 8:10-11)

As we study Israel’s history, we know that there were many times that they were not where God wanted them to be, spiritually speaking. Often in their history Israel would forsake their God, and err into immorality, and idolatry. These were times when God would be forced to bring judgment upon His people in order to get them to turn back to Him. However, in today’s passage, we see Israel as right with the Lord as they had ever been. They had just completed building the Temple of God, and today was the day that the entire nation was gathered together in order to dedicate the temple (and themselves) to the Lord. God was well pleased with Israel at this time, and He demonstrated His approval with a physical appearance of his presence. Verse 11 tells us that “the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord”.

I have been saved for over twenty-five years now, and I have been involved in the local church since I was born again into the family of God; and I have experienced the wonderful blessing of seeing God’s presence in the midst of His church. I did not see a physical manifestation of His presence, as these Israelites did, but I did experience the glory of God, nonetheless. Unfortunately, I have also seen the times when God’s presence was apparently absent from our church. Hindsight often provides a better perspective for analyzing the ingredients that went into the times when God seemed to be all over His church. When I look back at the times in our ministry when God was really working in a marvelous way among us, with many being saved and baptized, and wonderful Spirit-filled services, I can see that there were specific ingredients that were present. These same ingredients were present in our text today.

1  There was unity – God wants His children to be “in one accord”. A quick study of the early church from the Book of Acts will reveal that they were all together; they were all moving in the same direction.

2  There was humility – Notice in Solomon’s prayer that He recognizes that the people were prone to get away from God. He admits completely that these people were in God’s hands, and that it was God that blessed them. Notice:

“If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; … Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause, And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:” – (1 Kings 8:46, 49-50)

3  There was complete tenacity and loyalty toward God. These people were all consecrated to the Lord. They were not doing that which was right in their own eyes, they were pursuing God. They were not chasing after the world with all of its idols, and all of its immorality. They were not only separated from the world, but they were also separated unto the Lord. These people wanted to please the Lord. They were focused on God. They gave up two weeks of their lives to serve and sacrifice to the Lord.

We can see God’s glory in our churches again today if we have these three ingredients in place. I want to see God move in our church. I want to see Him do great thing in the midst of this world that denies Him. He’s just waiting for us to get on board.


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Have A Heart… For The Lord – The Saturday Morning Post

wicked-heart

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 6 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 7 – 8; Proverbs 18; Psalms 86 – 90)

Read the “0418 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” (Mark 7:1-23)

Good morning! What’s in your heart today? Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Only God can know your heart, and Jesus said in our passage above…

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” (Mark 7:21-23)

So, you can not know what is in your heart, but by your thoughts and actions you may have an idea of what is. What can you do to have a heart for God? First: allow God’s Word to get into you…

“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:8-13)

Second: you get into God’s Word…

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Third: pray God’s Word…

“…for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” (Romans 10:12)

“LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:” (Psalm 10:17)

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

God knows your heart, and God is the only one who can fix your heart. Trust Him, and ask Him,

Peace! (John 14:27)


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Almost Heaven

AlmostHeaven AlmostHeaven AlmostHeavensunset_paradise

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 3 – 5 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 5 – 6; Proverbs 17; Psalms 81 – 85)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1

Read the “0417 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “Wisdom”

“Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry.” (1 Kings 4:20)

“And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.” (1 Kings 4:25)

This is about as close to heaven as you could possibly get while still living here on the earth. Notice that Israel had the complete protection of God; and the abundant provision of God. And in these early days of Solomon’s reign the people were busy serving God by building His temple, which took about seven years to complete. So it seems that God is on His throne and the people are dwelling safely. It sort of reminds me of the history of America. We had to fight some battles in the early days; but God eventually gave us abundant provision and protection from our enemies. We are still the most blessed nation in the world.

Unfortunately, we will see in the upcoming chronicles of Israel’s history that all of this prosperity, which was given by God, will eventually cause the people to forget about God. I think we can safely say that America is in the same boat. The people in this “land of the free” have forgotten that it was God who gave them their freedom and all of the prosperity that comes with it.

Christian, let us never forget that it is God that has protected us, and it is God that has provided for us. Have you thanked God today for His blessings?


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I Will Be King

I will be king

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 1 – 2 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 3 – 4 Proverbs 16Psalms 76 – 80)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 61:1 – 3

Read the “0416 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.” – (1 Kings 1:5)

In our passage today, we have King David on his death bed, and the kingdom unsure about who will take his place after he passes on. God had made it clear to David that his son Solomon was to be his successor (1 Chronicles 22:9), but David had been very quiet about revealing the will of God to the people. As a result, one of the king’s other sons – Adonijah – saw an opportunity to seize power. He made a conspiracy with Joab and Abiathar to take control of the kingdom. With the backing of the military and the temple, it would be difficult to stop him. He called all of the king’s sons (except Solomon), and all of the important men of Judah (except Nathan the prophet and Benaiah, one of David’s mighty men) to announce that he was king. Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, finds out about the conspiracy and reveals it to the king. Now David has to act. He command Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet to anoint Solomon to be king over Israel. Had David been clear to the people about the Lord’s will previously, the kingdom would have avoided all of this unnecessary turmoil.

My thought this morning is about the phrase spoken by Adonijah, “I will be king”. Isn’t it inside all of us to seize control of our lives away from the reign of God? God wants to be the King in our lives, but we are constantly trying to knock God off the throne and assume power. Recognizing that this little battle rages within us, we must daily acknowledge and submit to God’s authority in our lives. Every time self begins to elevate itself, we must consciously abase him, and yield our allegiance to the Holy Spirit of God. We are really no different than Adonijah. Our pride causes us to lust for the dominion and power that does not rightfully belong to us. The key to successful Christian living is submission to the will of God. He is the only King.

 “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” – (Luke 14:11)


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How Many?

people 3d

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 23 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 1 – 2Proverbs 15Psalms 71 – 75

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 55:17

Read the “0415 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.” – (2 Samuel 24:1)

“And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” (1 Chronicles 21:1)

“And David spake unto the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.” – (2 Samuel 24:17)

This is one of those passages of Scripture that I have a difficult time understanding. The Scripture clearly says in verse 1 (above) that God moved David against Israel; but then in verse 17, David confesses what he had done against Israel to the Lord as sin. Here we have another example of the sovereignty of God in conjunction with the free will of man. To complicate matters even more, look at what it says in 1 Chronicles 21 about the same event: the blame here is placed upon Satan. In our passage today it certainly looks as if God was forcing David to sin against Him, which in turn brings about the wrath of God upon the people of Israel.  What is going on here? Did God command it, or did Satan tempt David to do it? I believe that it was in David’s heart to number the people long before the actual numbering took place. Man’s heart is desperately wicked. There are all kinds of sins inside of it. The idea to number the people originated with Satan, because he wanted to get David to take his eyes off of God, and instead trust in his military strength. I think that God kept David from fulfilling what was in his heart for a while, but then because of His anger at Israel (and David), He eventually allows it. I believe the same thing happened with Pharaoh of Egypt. The Scripture says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but it also says that Pharaoh’s heart was already hardened. I don’t think that God caused Pharaoh to hate Israel. He already did. God finally just removed the restraint that was keeping Pharaoh back. Satan is on a leash too. He can only do what God allows him to do.

This brings me to an application of this principle in our lives. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit of God is the restraining power that keeps all evil from breaking loose on the earth. The bottom line in all of this is that Satan will tempt you to sin, but God will not cause you to sin; but He will allow you to sin, and allow you to be tempted. However, I also believe that there are many times when He keeps us from sinning against Him through His indwelling Holy Spirit.

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” – (James 1:13-14)

By the way. You may be wondering why God would be against the numbering of the people. The reason is simple. He did not want Israel trusting in their numbers. He wanted them to trust in Him. They could beat any opposing army out there, regardless of size, as long as they were right with God.


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God Doesn’t Forget

God Doesn't Forget

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 20 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 27 – 28Proverbs 14Psalms 66 – 70)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 51

Read the “0414 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.” (2 Samuel 21:1)

Remember back in 1 Samuel when King Saul was mad at the priests because they had helped David. (See 1 Samuel 21 & 22) Saul ended up killing all of the priests (85 of them) and then proceeded to wipe out Nob, the city that the priests lived in. What Saul did to the priests and to their families was bad enough, but there was also a group of people who lived in Nob as servants to the priests who were not Israelites: they were Gibeonites. Now, you may also remember from the book of Joshua that the Gibeonites were the people who tricked Joshua into making a covenant with them. Joshua promised these people with an oath that Israel would let them live, and in return the Gibeonites would be Israel’s servants. God never forgot that covenant, so when Saul (acting on behalf of Israel) broke the covenant and slew the Gibeonites living in Nob; God held them (Israel – not just Saul) accountable. God doesn’t forget, even when we want to. Here, an entire nation is suffering for the decision of one man.

We should be admonished when we read passages like this.  First of all, we should realize that our actions affect more people than we think; and we should carefully consider the outcome on others around us from the decisions we make today as well as the impact they will have on future generations. Secondly, we need to think about any unfinished business we may have with God or other people. We are so quick to promise things; but so slow to deliver the things that we promise. God never forgot the promise that Israel made with the Gibeonites.

Note – A separate thought from this passage of Scripture. Notice in 21:8 that five of  the ”sons of Saul” (actually grandsons) that were to be killed were the sons of Michal, David’s first wife. Michal had lived a troubled life due to men who had used her for their own gain. Saul promised her to David and reluctantly gives her to be his wife; later Saul took her back and gave her to another man; After Saul’s death, when David is in power, he takes her back, away from a man that really loves her; and now here she is losing her sons.


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Bittersweet

Bittersweet

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 18 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

Second Milers also read – Matthew 25 – 26Psalms 61 – 65Proverbs 13

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 47:1

Read the “0413 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son.” – (2 Samuel 19:2)

This was a “no win” situation for David. David won the nation back, but lost his son. After his son Absalom rebelled against David, and forced him to flee from Jerusalem with all of his men, David had to do something. Absalom certainly wanted to see his father dead; but David, however, wanted somehow to undo the damage that Absalom had done to the nation, and still keep him as a son. He asked his men in the final battle to “deal gently… with the young man”, which they did not do. The men were right. Absalom had to die. David should have realized that. I can understand, though, how David felt. He did not blame Absalom for the way he turned out. I think David blamed himself. And even though David and his men won the victory and got the kingdom back, he still wished that he could go back and re-do some things  with his son Absalom.

I can relate to that. I wish that I could go back and re-do some things with my family as well. I know one thing that I would change is  that I would give each one of them a little more of my time. Instead of consuming my life with my goals and ambitions, I would give a little more of myself to helping them reach theirs. David ignored his son Absalom for a long time, and now he wished that he had the opportunity to give him his attention. The rebellion of Absalom grew with every passing day that his father neglected him. Most of my children are grown now, but I am trying to spend more time with them even now. I cannot re-claim what I missed, but I can make the most of what I have left. I do have one daughter, Hannah, who is young and still at home. I am doing things differently with her. If you still have children to influence, I encourage you to take every opportunity to do it. I bet you if David was to do it all over again, he would trade some of his successes as king for a good relationship with his children.


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I Smell A Rat

rat

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 15 – 17 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 23 – 24Proverbs 12Psalms 56 – 60 

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read a previous post from this passage – “Let Him Curse

Read the “0412 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!” – (2 Samuel 15:3-4)

In today’s reading, we see the gradual rise to power of Absalom, David’s son. Absalom has developed into a calculating, sneaky, and conspiring rebel, who slowly stole the hearts of the people of Israel away from their God chosen leader. In the verses above, he is standing in the gate, and pulling people aside before they go into the king. He befriends them, and promises them that if he were the king things would be different; things would be better. No doubt, he is bad-mouthing the king to everyone who would listen. Absalom is a snake; a rat. He has done nothing on his own; he has built nothing, conquered nothing. Instead, he is a destroyer, and a stealer of that which belongs to another man.

I have observed people like this throughout the years. They steal wives away from husbands; they steal the hearts of children away from fathers; they steal churches away from pastors. They tell the wife who may be having some struggles in her marriage that if he were her husband, he would never mistreat her. They do the same to church members. They want people to come to them. They usually use flattery. They always tear down God-ordained authority. Beware of the Absalom’s of life. God is never for them. Even when it looks like they have all the right answers, you need to stay faithful to the Lord and be supportive of the leaders that God has given you.


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They Were Sore Displeased – The Saturday Morning Post

The Bible

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 12 – 14 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 21 – 22; Proverbs 11; Psalms 51 – 55)

Read the “0411 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” (Matthew 21:10-16)

Good morning…

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 122:1)

Last Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, our church was jam-packed. It was exciting. I can’t wait to see what the Lord does tomorrow. The choir and congregational singing was great. The preaching, and the message of God’s Word was great. And all the children running about, having a great day at church. Jersey Shore Baptist Church was alive, and bursting at the seams. I was glad to be in the house of the Lord, but being saved, I always am. This was a similar day that they had in Matthew 21, with Jesus in the Temple.

Jesus had just finished cleaning house, casting out those who bought and sold in the Temple, and overturning the tables of the moneychangers and those who sold doves. The blind and the lame came to Jesus, and He healed them. Jesus was doing many wonderful things. The people were crying out, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” And when the chief priests, and the scribes saw all that was going on, they were displeased.

Is your church alive like it was on that day in the Temple when Jesus came? If it is, you probably have those who will be displeased. The children yelling, the sermon being too long, or even someones favorite seat taken may upset a few. Jesus gave the answer when He said, “My house shall be called THE house of prayer.”

Pray for your church. Pray for your pastor. Pray for your Sunday School teachers. Pray for your choir. Pray that they will not be discouraged by the few who are displeased with a living, growing, church that stands on God’s Word. And pray for those who are displeased, that God would work on their hearts, and that they will understand that church is all about Jesus. And Jesus is the Life, so, wouldn’t His church be alive also?

Peace! (Revelation 7:17)


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Be In Your Place

 

Be in Your Place

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 8 – 11 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 19 – 20Proverbs 10Psalms 46 – 50

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 34:6

Read the “0410 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.” (2 Samuel 11:1-2)

This morning I want to pass along a very simple but important truth. In our passage today, in chapter 11, we read about the very familiar yet tragic story of David and Bathsheba. David is out on his rooftop and from his vantage point spots a beautiful woman who is bathing. David, who already has a few wives, sends a servant to bring the woman to him so he can sleep with her, but the woman is married. David takes the woman anyway, and ends up adding murder to his sin of adultery because he has her husband sentenced to death by placing him on the front lines of Israel’s war with the Ammonites. There is more to the story, but I have covered enough here to deliver my point.

We would all agree that adultery and murder are two very serious sins that were both punishable by death according to the Old Testament Law, but I would like to point out here that the sin precipitated these was David’s sin of not being where he was supposed to be. David was the king, and should have been fighting the battle with his men, but instead, he was home relaxing on his rooftop. Had David been leading his army in battle, this adultery and murder would have never taken place.

I find that we often get ourselves into trouble by not being where we should be. Did you know that there is a specific place where God wants you to be at any given moment? For instance, God has a time and a place where He wants you to meet with Him in devotion (Bible reading and prayer), and we need to be very careful to keep that appointment. There is also a time and a place when we need to be with other Christians, gathered in fellowship around the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. We also need to be busy at the place of our employment. These are just examples. We all have different responsibilities with different schedules, but we all have a specific place where we need to be at any given time, and being where we need to be will help us to be what we need to be and to do what we should be doing. Just a thought.


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Check With God First

Man-Praying

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 4 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 17 – 18Proverbs 9Psalms 41 – 45)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 34:1 – 4

Read the “0409 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee. And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?” – (2 Samuel 7:3-5)

In 2 Samuel 7, David comes to the prophet Nathan, and informs him of his desire to build a permanent dwelling place for the ark of the covenant: he wanted to build the temple. You will recall that up until this time the corporate worship of God took place in a portable tabernacle that God had designed for them while they wandered the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. But now it was time to build a permanent structure in the capital city – Jerusalem. It was a good thing that David wanted to do, and it was also good that he went to inquire of the man of God before he did it. The problem here is not with David, but with the prophet Nathan. He gave David the green light to “do all that [was] in [David’s] heart”, before he checked with God. In other words, he spoke on behalf of God, but did not say what God wanted him to say. He spoke prematurely. As it turns out, God had other plans. He did not want David to build the temple. That job was going to go to David’s son, Solomon.

There is a great lesson to be learned here for us. Before we offer our advice on a matter, we ought to check with God first. How we go about doing that is a little bit different today than it was in David and Nathan’s day. In their time God would speak directly to the man of God. Today, however, we have to discern the will of God in the following way:

1  We first go to the Word of God – check to see what the Bible says about what you want to do. Just about every possible scenario is covered by Biblical principle. Let’s say for example that a young lady wanted to know if it was OK to get involved with a young man who is not a dedicated Christian. She could look into the Word and see that it says that she is not to be “unequally yoked” together with an unbeliever. She would also see that the Scripture says that she can not “walk together” with someone whom she is not in agreement with. And there are many other passages of Scripture, which would advise her against what she wants to do. The bottom line is that if the thing we want to do is in violation of sound Biblical principle, we should not do it.

2  We go to God in prayer. We ask God to reveal to us personally His will regarding the matter. I believe that if a person is really concerned about the will of God, He will direct them. When I was praying about where to serve God after Bible college, God revealed to me precisely that He wanted my family to serve Him here in Galloway, NJ.

3  We get advice. The Bible is clear that there is safety in a multitude of counselors. Find some people with godly wisdom that you can go to for counsel regarding your decision, and give them some time to pray first before they give you an answer.

Nathan should have put David on hold until he had a chance to find out what God wanted him to do.


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Stay in the City of Refuge

www-st-takla-org-the-city-of-refuge

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 15 – 16Proverbs 8Psalms 36 – 40

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 25

Read the “0408 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.” – (2 Samuel 3:27)

These first few chapters of the Book of 2 Samuel make for some exciting reading, as well as for some valuable truth. In our verse above, we see the murder of Abner by Joab and Abishai his brother. To fully understand what is happening here, there is an underlying principle that we must learn, as well as some additional background information.

First let me give you the principle. The city where this killing took place was Hebron, which was known as a City of Refuge. You can read all about the cities of refuge in the Book of Numbers 35:9 – 34; and Joshua 20. In a nutshell, though, a city of refuge was a place where somebody could flee to for safety. You see, the law in Israel stated that if you killed somebody in wartime, or if you unintentionally killed somebody (not for cases of pre-meditated murder) that the family of the dead person could avenge the blood of their relative without any legal action being taken against them. If the person who committed the “manslaughter” could get inside the city of refuge, then he would be granted safety and refuge as long as he remained in the city; but if he was to leave the city at any time, he was fair game for the revengers of blood.

Now let’s look at the background to this story. Chapter two tells us that Joab and Abishai had a brother named Asahel that was killed by Abner during a previous battle. Naturally, Joab and Abishai had never forgotten what Abner did to their brother, and even though the act was committed during a time of war, they wanted Abner to pay for their brother’s death. The problem was, however, that they had to get him outside the gate of the city. Notice our text tells us that Joab pulls him aside, in the gate, to speak with him quietly (privately).  But why would Abner willingly leave the protection of the city in order to speak with a man that wanted him dead? Because Joab had deceived him into thinking that he meant no harm. As soon as he gets him outside, however, he kills him.

Now let’s make application. The city of refuge is a picture of the will of God; and Joab is a picture of the devil. The devil cannot touch us directly as long as we are inside the walls of the will of God, so what he does is try to lure us out of the city so that he can kill our ministry for the Lord. The moral to the story is: stay inside the city. Don’t stray from God’s perfect will for your life. Don’t let Satan convince you that life will be better outside of the walls of the city. Stay in the Word of God; stay in the prayer closet; stay in church; stay out soul winning; stay separated. Stay in the City!


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Encouragement from the Lord

Today’s Reading – 1 Samuel 28 – 31 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers read – Matthew 13 – 14; Proverbs 7; Psalms 31 – 35)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32 (Fast)

Read the “0407 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” – (1 Samuel 30:6)

In our passage this morning, we see David and his men returning home to Ziklag, and discover that the city was burned to the ground and their wives and children were gone. At this point they have no idea what these Amelekites had done to their families, but I am sure that David and his men suspected that they were either being slaughtered or, at the very least, abused. The men were naturally distraught. At times like these, people want to blame somebody, and since David was their leader, he bore the brunt of their wrath. Remember, these were men that loved David, and risked much by following him. This was certainly a great test of David’s leadership. But how was David supposed to help his men, when he was also distraught due to the loss of his family. It is very hard to encourage and lead people when you yourself are discouraged; and David is perhaps at the lowest point of his life here.

The last sentence in the verse tells us what got David back up to where he could do something to help these people who were relying on him for leadership. “…David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” It is not easy to turn to the Lord for encouragement when you are down. Honestly, I can speak from experience when I say that sometimes I want to just wallow in the mire of discouragement. Have a little pity party, so to speak. But, that will not help anybody. David didn’t stay down; he got back up. He received encouragement from the only source available at the time. Remember, his loyal men wanted to stone him at this time. David went to the Lord, and the Lord gave him the answers that he needed; and in a very short time, they had recovered their families, not to mention their possessions. However, none of that would have happened if David would have just stayed down.

This passage was a great encouragement for me today. Personally. I have been battling with a lot of discouragement lately. I guess, like David, I need to get up, go to God, and get back in the battle. Maybe, if I can get some encouragement from the Lord, then I will be able to give some encouragement to the people around me.


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Let God Take Care of the Problem

Grand-CanyonToday’s Passage – 1 Samuel 25 – 27 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers read – Matthew 11 – 12; Proverbs 6; Psalms 26 – 30)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “0405 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Good Morning
This is God. I will be handling all of your problems today, and I don’t need your help, so have a nice day.

“Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send. Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.” – (1 Samuel 25:25-26)

“And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD’S anointed, and be guiltless? David said furthermore, As the LORD liveth, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish.” – (1 Samuel 26:9-10)

“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” – (Matthew 5:39)

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” – (Romans 12:19)

Have you ever been done wrong by somebody? Have you ever been hurt by somebody? I am sure that we all have experienced pain at one time or another in life that was caused by another person. The tendency when we are being attacked, or maligned, or gossiped about by somebody else is to attack back. It is in our human nature to want to even the score. In our passage this morning, we see two occasions where David had the justification and the opportunity to settle the score with people who had treated him unfairly; yet David chose to let God take care of it, rather than settling the matter himself.

In chapter 25 of our reading today, we see David treated poorly by a man named Nabal who was a nasty, selfish man without much mental capacity. David had been sharing the same fields with Nabal’s shepherds. David’s men protected the shepherds from any harm that might have come their way as they were feeding Nabal’s sheep. David asked if Nabal could give him some food for his men, and Nabal turned him down, and insulted him as well. David wanted to destroy the man and all that he owned, but Nabal’s wife, Abigail, convinced David not to do it. She reminded David that God was well able to take care of the situation; and God did. A short time later, Nabal died, and God gave David Nabal’s wife.

In chapter 26, we read where David has the opportunity to kill King Saul who had been pursuing David and trying to kill him. When a perfect opportunity comes for one of David’s men to put an end to this constant threat against David’s life, David says that he will not put forth his hand against God’s annointed. Davis knew that God would take care of the situation. We will read in future chapters about the death of Saul, and the coronation of David as the king.

You see, you do not have to take matters into your own hands. God is well able to watch out for you, and avenge any wrong that has been done to you. You and I just need to be like Jesus – ready to forgive those who have sinned against us. And remember, though you and I may have been sinned against a time or two in our lives, I bet we have also done our share of hurting other people as well. We may not have meant to, but nevertheless we did. When we do wrong we want others to gives us some grace, don’t we? So let’s be willing to turn the other cheek ourselves.


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I’ve Got Your Back

2012-1-8-2012-child-under-His-wingToday’s Passage – 1 Samuel 22 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 9 – 10Proverbs 5Psalms 21 – 25

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Matthew 6:33

Read a previous post from this passage – “Obsessed”

Read the “0405 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard.” – (1 Samuel 22:23)

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” – (John 15:4-7)

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” – (Hebrews 13:5)

In our passage today (Chapter 22), we read about King Saul slaughtering eighty-five of the priests of God from the city of Nob, along with their wives, children, and even their livestock. Saul had completely lost his mind, and had become completely consumed with destroying David, and anyone he imagined to be complicit with him, whether he had any evidence to back up his suspicions or not. Saul was convinced that the priests were secretly helping out David, so he murdered all of them, save one who escaped. Abiathar was the sole survivor of the massacre at Nob, and he escaped to tell David what had happened. That is when David tells Abiathar to stay with him where he will be cared for and protected from their mutual enemy.

David, in this story, is a wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are pursued by an enemy that hates us because he hates our Saviour. Yet, God offers us the same protection that was pictured here with David and Abiathar. Abiathar lost his family, his home, and his safety all because of his association with David. David felt responsible for all that Abiathar lost, so he took him in. He would see to it that Abiathar was provided for and protected as long as he was with him. Is this not what we have in Christ? He provides for our needs, and protects us from those that would harm us. This is not to say that no “bad” things will ever happen to us, but we can be sure of the fact that no harm will come to us without first being authorized by Him; and if He puts His stamp of approval on it, it will be for His glory, and/or our good; and He promised that He will never give us more than we can handle.


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Madness – The Saturday Morning Post

Slot Machine MadnessToday’s Passage – 1 Samuel 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 7 – 8; Proverbs 4Psalms 16 – 20

Read the “0404 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands? And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath. And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard. Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me? Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?” (1Samuel 21:10-15)

“And when he [JESUS] was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.” (Matthew 8:28-32)

Good morning. Here we have two examples of madness. David made himself mad to save his life. The herd of swine went mad when possessed by devils, and they lost their lives.

Working security in a casino, on the graveyard shift, you notice many things. Mainly around the slot machines. People stare, glassy-eyed into the machine watching the numbers and symbols spin around. Their only movement is to hit the spin button. The cocktail waitresses come around serving drinks and alcohol, which being a depressant just adds to the miserable look that is on their faces. From what I understand many are regular customers: they come there all the time. Can I ask you something? Is this the kind of life you planned on having? Something happened to draw these people into the madness of gambling.

I walked by a roulette table, and saw three separate gray chips placed as bets. The wheel was turned and the ball raced around. When all was said and done, those three gray chips went to the house: that’s $15,000 ($5,000 each): that’s madness. Is there a madness in your life?

“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:20-27)

I am so glad, Ive been given the opportunity to help all those with this madness, as well as other madnesses, through the Reformers Unanimous Addictions Program here at Jersey Shore Baptist. We have a slogan: “Only the Truth makes free!” We can show you from the Scriptures how to end the madness. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus is the only Way: every other path is a dead end. Jesus is the Truth: He doesn’t sugar-coat your problem, but will stand right by your side, and face it with you. Jesus is the Life: He will help you with your life, and keep you from throwing it away. Jesus said…

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15: 4-5)

“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” (John 15:8-9)

If Jesus didn’t think your life was precious, why would He allow Himself to be beaten, spit upon, whipped by a whip that had sharp bones and metal pieces that ripped right through His skin, and then be nailed to a cross shedding His precious blood for your precious soul? He is able, and will stop whatever madness you have.

Peace! (John 3:16)


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Is There Not A Cause?

Is There Not A Cause

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 17 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 5 – 6; Proverbs 3; Psalms 11 – 15)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0403 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?” – (1 Samuel 17:29)

The account of David and Goliath is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible. Even people who know little about the Bible or the Christian faith know something about this story. It is the classic story of the underdog. We love to cheer for the underdog; we love to see the guy that nobody thought could possibly win, come up from behind and win the game. However, the truth is that David was not participating in a game. He was literally fighting for His life, the lives of the men in God’s army, and for the sovereignty of Israel as a nation.

Because of the familiarity of most people to this story, I will not take the time to review it. If you by chance are not familiar with the account, make sure you read the passage. It is one of those passages that reads very easy. You will not have any trouble at all understanding what the Bible is saying. I would like to point out a few things about David, however:

1  David was a man of great faith. David’s faith overshadowed his fear. Any man in his right mind would be afraid of a guy as big and as powerful as Goliath, yet David did could not see how this man could possibly conquer God. David knew that He was fighting the Lord’s battle, and He knew that God was well able to take down Goliath. Goliath may have been big compared to David, but he was less than nothing when compared with David’s God.

Take a moment and consider now what Goliath’s you are facing in your life today. They may seem insurmountable, but if they are standing in between you and God’s cause, you must believe that God is able to overcome them.

2  David was a man of great fondness for God. David didn’t like what this big, ugly Philistine was saying about God and God’s people. It made him mad. I believe in this case we could say that David’s anger was really righteous indignation. Though we certainly should never allow our anger and passion to cause us to sin, we should still get riled up about some things; and our anger should cause us to take action. For instance, when you hear someone blaspheming your God, you should say something about it. People ought to know where you stand.

3  David was a man who made many foes. I am not referring to the Philistines, either. David’s brother, Eliab, became angry with him; and later King Saul became very jealous of him, and even sought to kill him on a number of occasions. You would think doing right would make you everybodies hero; however, many will become your enemy the minute God puts you in the spotlight. I am sure Satan didn’t take his eyes off of David after this either.

4  David had a very good friend. When you decide to live for God, you may be marked an enemy by some, and even dismissed as a fanatic by others; but there will be some – maybe only a few – who will want to be your friend. Saul’s son, Jonathon fell in love with David because of the stand that David took that day.

David took a great risk, humanly speaking, when he entered into the ring with Goliath; but God forever changed the life of David as a result of his great faith. God is looking for more risk takers today: men and women who are willing to stick their neck out to live by faith for God. There was only one young man that was willing to risk his life in a fight against a 9 foot giant that day in Judah, and there will certainly not be many today who will demonstrate that kind of faith; but by God’s grace, I want to be a man of faith like David was. I hope you do too.

 


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Do I Hear Sheep?

Do I Hear Sheep

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 15 – 16 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 3 – 4; Proverbs 2; Psalms 6 – 10)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Isaiah 40:31

Read the “0402 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” – (1 Samuel 15:14 )

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” – (1 Samuel 15:22)

The story in 1 Samuel 15 goes like this: God wanted Saul and the people of Israel to go and utterly destroy the Amelekites, and all that belonged to them, from off the face of the earth. It is not often that God gave a commandment like this, but it is important to know that when He did, He had a good reason. We may not completely understand why God would want something like this to happen, but we know that God is God, and He knows what is best. Saul obeyed much of what God commanded him to do. He wiped out all of the Amelekites, except the king, Agag. Saul also spared the sheep, because he justified that the sheep could be used for a sacrifice. However, God was not pleased with Saul’s partial obedience, and He was not interested in Saul’s sacrifice. God wanted total obedience, which is “better than sacrifice”.

If we look carefully at the text, we can figure out why Saul did not completely obey God. Consider these verses from the passage:

 “And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?” – (1 Samuel 15:17)

“And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.” – (1 Samuel 15:24)

“Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God.” – (1 Samuel 15:30)

It is apparent from these verses that Saul had a problem with pride. I guess we can all relate to that, can’t we? He was more concerned about pleasing the people, and being elevated in their sight, than he was about obeying and pleasing the Lord. How many times have we compromised our obedience in order to appease the people around us?

So it was Saul’s pride that caused him to disobey. But what causes you (or me) to disobey?  Is it pride like Saul? Is it covetousness? Is it laziness? We all have something in our lives that puts the pressure on us to not do what God commands us to do. God wants a total surrender though. He wants complete obedience, and He does not accept our excuses for disobedience.

 


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Sweeter Than Honey

Sweeter Than Honey

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 12 – 14 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mathew 1 – 2Psalms 1 – 5Proverbs 1

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Proverbs 27:15

Read the “0401 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey.” – (1 Samuel 14:29)

“The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” – (Psalm 19:9-10)

“How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” – (Psalm 119:103)

In chapter 14 of 1 Samuel we see a great victory for Israel against their enemies, the Philistines. It all started when Saul’s son, Jonathan, and his armour bearer decide that they are going to trust God to bring a great victory. This is a very similar situation to the account of David and Goliath. Here, the massive army of the Philistines is encamped near the much smaller army of Israel. Saul, Israel’s king, is not really taking any action; so Jonathon decides to do something. Him and his armourbearer go up to where the Philistines are, and God goes with them, and gives them a great victory. This starts a chain reaction where the Philistines start running for their lives, and even fighting each other. Saul is watching this from a great distance, and is not sure what is happening, but soon realizes that his enemy is leaving. Now he decides to get involved. The rest of the people of Israel, along with Saul, join the chase, and attempt to kill all of the Philistines before they completely escape out of Israel. Saul then does something dumb. He tells all of his people that they are not to eat anything until the battle is completely over.  Anybody who violates this command will be put to death. The people don’t eat, but Jonathon does. He come upon a little honey in the woods as he is chasing the Philistine army, and he eats it. Now Jonathon did not know about Saul’s order. However, the Bible says that his “eyes were enlightened”.  By the way, if the rest of Israel was allowed to have a little of that honey, they would have had a lot more energy to continue in the battle. In fact, they are so famished that when it does come time to eat, they don’t even cook their meat; they eat it raw, which was forbidden by God.

There is a wonderful picture here regarding the honey. The honey is a picture of the Word of God. Notice the other verses above that compare honey to the Word. As Christians, we are supposed to be in a battle; and we need to recharge our spiritually batteries often throughout the battle. We need to take time to open the Bible, and allow God’s Word to “enlighten our eyes”,  giving us the wisdom and strength that we need to face the battles that will come our way. Have you eaten your honey today? Don’t let the Saul’s of this world keep you from tasting the sweet Word of God.

By the way, have you noticed that Saul has a rather insecure and obsessive personality. Why would he come up with such a rule anyway. He wants total control over the people. He didn’t want their eyes to be enlightened. Religion can be like that today. They frown upon the people tasting of the heavenly honey themselves, because they want to control completely what spiritual nutrition the people receive.


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Humble Beginnings

Humble Beginnings

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 8 – 11 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here  to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 16 – 19Revelation 20 – 22Proverbs 31)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Read the “0331 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.” – (1 Samuel 10:24)

“And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?” (1 Samuel 15:17)

The life of Saul has always fascinated me. Saul started out so well. If I were reading the Bible for the very first time, and just read up to chapter 11, I would see no indication at all that Saul would eventually turn bad. So far all that we have read about Saul is good. In chapter 8, we see him serving his father by searching the countryside for some lost asses. In chapter 9, he is met by Samuel the prophet and is told that “all the desire of Israel” was on him. Upon hearing this statement, Saul humbly states that he and is family were  from the least of the tribes of Israel, basically stating that he was not even worthy of consideration. When it comes time for Samuel to announce to the people That Saul would be king, Saul is hiding. I don’t see even a hint of pride in this young man so far. Even when he is opposed by some ungodly men, he holds his peace, and then later when he was annointed king, some of his supporters remembered the opposition and tried to have them executed, but Saul refuses. He seems to be making all of the right moves thus far. He is humble, yet he demonstrates strong leadership when his people were threatened by the Ammonites in chapter 11. He rallies all of the people of Israel to come to the battle, and they destroy the invading army from Ammon. Saul starts out great.

I almost want to stop reading here while everything is “still good in the hood”. What happens to Saul? Does he stay on the right path or does he go off course somewhere? Well, we will read all about it in the next few days, but let me give you a little hint here. As we have already seen, Saul starts out very humble, but he will eventually become full of pride; and pride will bring about his destruction. Pride is a huge problem for most of us. Consider the following verses:

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” – (Proverbs 16:18)

“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” – (Proverbs 13:10)

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,” – (Proverbs 6:16-17)

“A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” – (Proverbs 29:23)

The Bible has a lot to say about pride. As we read these next few chapters, watch out for pride developing in the heart of Saul; but more importantly watch out for the development of pride in your own life.

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” – (1 Peter 5:5)

 


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Get It Out!

Death-at-Beth-Shemesh-EL2

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 4 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 13 – 15Proverbs 30Psalms 146 – 150)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 121

Read the “0330 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.” – (1 Samuel 5:11)

“And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjathjearim, saying, The Philistines have brought again the ark of the LORD; come ye down, and fetch it up to you.” – (1 Samuel 6:21)

In our reading today we see the ark of God being taken from the Israelites by the Philistines; and then we see the voluntary return of the ark back to the people of Israel. Nobody seemed to want the ark. The story begins in chapter where the Israelite are losing in battle to the Philistines. The elders of Israel come up with the idea of getting the ark and bringing it to the battles because “it” would help them. Notice carefully the use of the word “it”. They were trusting in God to help them, they were trusting in a “good luck charm”. The Philistines seemed to have a better understanding of what the ark represented. They knew that the ark represented a powerful God, and though they did not know Him, they feared Him, and God gave them the victory and the ark. The moral to that part of the story is that God is not your good luck charm.

Once the ark was brought into the land of the Philistines, however, they began to experience some major problems. They put the ark of God in the Temple of Dagon. God does not like to share His glory with anyone so He knocked over Dagon, and chopped off his head and hands. To make matters much worse the people of city of Ashdod are all plagued with “emerods”. Now I don’t want to be graphic on this site, so I won’t go into deep explanation as to what emerods are, but I will tell you this: they can be helped with a little “Preparation H”. However, since the people of Ashdod didn’t have Preparation H at the time, or a CVS to buy it from, they opted to just get rid of the ark.

The ark then travels to two more cities of the Philistines where the same thing happens, so the Philistines wisely decide to send the ark back to Israel, along with some golden mice and emerods. Now that the ark is back in Israel, into the city of Bethshemesh, the people of Israel are very happy. Their happiness subsides, however, when they decide to take a little peek inside the ark. Not smart. About 50,000 of them died that day. They knew better. So the people that were left of Bethshemesh decided also to get rid of the ark, and they sent it to Kirjathjearim, where it remained for many years until David comes to get it.

We see here what happens when people dabble with the things of God, but do not actually know God. God gave clear instructions to the people of Israel as to the ark of the covenant. They should have known better. God will be worshipped on His terms or He won’t be worshipped at all. These people didn’t want God around them because they refused to submit to His Lordship. People are the same way today. They will not submit to God, so they would rather just not have Him around. And Christians who ought to know about God are so Bible ignorant that they have no clue what He expect from their lives. We need to get back into the Word of God in order to find out what God wants, and then we need to submit ourselves to His will.


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Lent to the Lord

 

Lent to the Lord

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 10 – 12;  Proverbs 29Psalms 141 – 145)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 119:105

Read a previous post from this passage – “Eli Didn’t Correct His Children

Read the “0329 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.” – (1 Samuel 1:27-28)

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” – (Psalm 127:3)

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” – (Ephesians 6:4)

One of the greatest blessings and priveledges in life for a married couple is to be given the opportunity to raise children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord”.  In our reading today we see Hannah, the wife Elkanah, who desired more than anything to be given the priveledge of giving birth to children. She begged God to open up her womb, and she promised God that she would give the child back to the Lord. In other words, she understood that the child would not really belong to her, he would belong to the Lord. God granted her request, and she was faithful to her word, and literally gave the child, when he was old enough, to be trained by the priest in the service of the Lord.

God has blessed my wife and I with four wonderful children, three of which are now grown and married. Two of our married children are still living and serving the Lord in our church, which is a wonderful blessing. However, my daughter Melissa and her husband Wesley live many miles away, and though we speak with them almost daily, and even see them often, we miss them terribly. One of the most difficult things that we can do as parents is to let go of our children when they are grown. We want to keep them around us forever. However, oftentimes God may have a special plan for our children that will lead them to be apart from us geographically. As hard as that may be, we must recognize that God gave us these children for a specific purpose, and a limited time. We were never owners, only stewards. They belong to the Lord. If God chooses to use them as a missionary on a foreign field, or perhaps move them to the other side of the country, that is His right; and we must not only accept His will, but we must support it as well.

If God has blessed you and your spouse with children, please remember that those precious ones are really only “lent” to you for a short time. You have been given the awesome responsibility of teaching a child how to love and serve God. Don’t waste time, it is very precious. You will blink your eyes twice and they will be grown, and then they will move on to serve God, and to raise a family of their own.


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