Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33
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.
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Samuel by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
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.
I use to work security in a casino, on the graveyard shift. You notice many things on this shift. 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)
The Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who can save people from this madness, as well as other madnesses. The Reformers Unanimous Addictions Program has 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.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 1 comment.
There are still some giants that need killing!
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, such as this COVID-19 virus with all of the pain and suffering it is causing. 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 everybody’s 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.
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Samuel by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
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 it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this. Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this. Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.” (1 Samuel 16:6-13)
Samuel is in a situation where God’s vessel (King Saul) is done being used as king.
“And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.” (1 Samuel 15:26)
Now is the time for a new regime. God is looking for a new man, a better man. A man who will be used mightily to bring about revival, blessing, and peace to a nation. Samuel is looking at Eliab and saying surely this is him. He thinks to himself he is strong, tough, and big, this must be the man, however God says no. Samuel begins to go down the line one after the other, each one being rejected. None of these men are the chosen vessel of God. It isn’t until Samuel asks the question, “are here all thy children?”, that we find our answer. His father says, “well there remaineth yet one”. The absolute last resort. The bottom of the barrel. The only crumb left left after a feast. The very last drop of water in a dry and thirsty land. It was then that Samuel and Jesse’s very last resort was realized as God’s first choice. It may have been the worst option to man but it was the best option to God. They thought to themselves, “he is so small, so young, so… insignificant. How could this be the vessel God will use?” God says to Samuel, “the Lord seeth not as man seeth”.
The thought I have today is this: Right now we’re living in a time where all of our normal church abilities are being taken away. All of our “obvious choices” for church are being rejected for the time being. The ability to physically gather has been taken. The ability go door-knocking or physically visit people for the most part has been taken. The ability to physically pray together, go on bus routes, fellowship in person, or even go out with a friend to encourage each other is gone. You might ask, “what remains?,” “what’s left?” My answer is God’s best for this time. Whatever you can do is the “David” of this time. It’s not small or insignificant, it is extremely powerful. Just because it’s our last resort doesn’t mean it’s God’s. The tools he wants us to use today may seem small and insignificant, but to God they are the most powerful. God doesn’t ask what we can’t do, he asks what we can. He asks what’s left, because that’s how he feeds the five thousand, slays a giant, and defeats the Midianites with three hundred men. This is how God does his greatest miracles and wins His greatest battles.
So ask yourself, “what’s left?,” “what can I do?” Some of these tools we don’t see yet, they are out in the field. Just as Samuel didn’t sit until he found who was left, don’t sit till you find what is left. The Bible, prayer, family, the ability to make a phone call, Zoom a Sunday School class or prayer meeting, Facebook live any/every service, or talk to a neighbor about Christ. We have the ability to be the greatest Christians, parents, friends and spiritual leaders that we have ever had the chance to be. Make the best out of what remains recognizing it is God’s best for us right now. We do believe God is in control right? We don’t think that somehow God missed this right? Just because we may be at our wits end doesn’t me he is. Pastor preached about Esther and about how we’re here, “for such a time as this.” Do we believe that? Let us be challenged to do the best we can with what’s left. Maybe we feel like we’re at the bottom of the widow’s vessel of oil. Just keep pouring and watch what God does. Today ask yourself… “what remaineth?”
Posted in Devotions by Justin Mears with 5 comments.
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.
“And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; And turn ye not aside: for [then should ye go] after vain [things], which cannot profit nor deliver; for they [are] vain. For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people. Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great [things] he hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.” (1 Samuel 12:20-25)
Background – Israel messed up, they had gotten to a place where they forgot what God had done for them. Israel became discontent and unthankful. The people doubted what God was doing, so they begged for a king and shortly after they realized what a terrible mistake they had made. In the verse prior to these, we see their brokenness and desperation, longing for what they once had, before they sinned against the Lord. Samuel now attempts to encourage and restore their spirits. He assures them that God has not forsaken them. Samuel implores the people to turn back to God and serve Him with everything they have. He begs them not to seek after that which is vain. Finally, Samuel reminds them of all the Lord has done for them.
Can you relate with these Israelites? Are you in a place where you think restoration is out of the question? Could there be no hope for you to ever come back from what you have done?
Maybe, you can relate with the Israelites, not because of a “great sin” but simply because the world around you seems so bleak. Is there Hope? If you watch any News station these days , you can certainly relate with the feeling of “no hope”.
I am no Samuel (Just a Sam), but let me encourage you. THERE IS HOPE.
If you have strayed away from the Lord due to sin, He desires to restore you. He longs for your fellowship. Allow Him to give you hope.
If you are one who has just lost hope in general, because your situation seems unbearable and there is no “light at the end of the tunnel”, whatever your “tunnel” is. Allow these verses to penetrate your heart and restore your spirit:
For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people (1 Samuel 12:22)
You have the option to choose another path, you have the choice of the Hope of Christ or whatever else may be out there. I promise you, this other road will lead to brokenness, Sadness and ultimately destruction. Hope will not be found here.
And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain (1 Samuel 12:21)
Take a moment to remind yourself of all God has done for you, where He has brought you from and the promises, He has made to you, in His Word. The entire world is searching for something right now and some have no Hope. We, as God’s people, cannot lose Hope, For their sakes, we must have Hope and we must share this Hope.
Posted in Devotions by Samantha Mears with 6 comments.
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 his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.” (1 Samuel 8:3)
The Bible is alive! It is truly a living book! Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is quick…”. This has probably happened to you before, where you read a passage over and over and you read it again and the Holy Spirit highlights something in the passage.
I have read these chapters many times like you probably have as well, but as I was reading for this devotion, I was thinking about Samuel and his sons. First Samuel chapter 8 and verse 3 is the thought today, “And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment”. They totally went in the opposite direction that their father, Samuel, had raised them in.
Samuel was God’s man. One of his sons was named Joel – meaning “Jehovah is God!” The other named Abiah meaning “God is my Father!” Samuel knew God and he was close to the Lord God.
Samuel served the Lord from his youth. He had a godly and a praying mom named Hannah who lent him unto the Lord not long after his birth. Samuel began serving the Lord and hearing the voice of God at a young age (1 Samuel 3).
He was now an old man according to chapter 8 and verse 1. I admire Samuel’s faithfulness. I have the highest respect for men of God and women of God who are just faithful for the long haul. In the last 8 weeks at our church we’ve had the honor of having Dr. Paul Fedena, Pastor Charles Clark, Jr., and Missionary Jeff Bassett in to preach. All 3 of these men have been saved and serving God for over 40 years. Their faithfulness to our Lord inspires me and encourages me to keep my eyes on the Lord and keep serving Him in truth.
Samuel wasn’t one of these fire cracker servants of the Lord – in it for a little while and made an impact, and then vanish away. Instead, he stayed faithful.
His sons on the other hand made up their mind that they were going to go a different path. They would have grown up seeing their dad serving the Lord and seeing their dad praying. God was real to Samuel and his sons would have seen that. How sad that they didn’t walk in their fathers ways.
Just like Joel and Abiah had a spiritual influence in their life, you do as well. There have been people that have influenced your life spiritually and you ought to thank God for those people. I think about in my life how I’ve had pastors, my parents, teachers, coaches, and friends influence me for the Lord. I don’t want to let them down. I don’t serve God for them, but one of the reasons I serve God is because of them. God uses people to encourage us and help us along the way.
People have invested in you. People have influenced you in your Christian walk. Don’t turn aside and start following false doctrine, don’t turn aside and start following the latest trends in the world, don’t turn aside and start forsaking church and spiritual things.
Don’t let it be that the “Samuels” in your life find out that you forsook the ways of the Lord God. Maybe you’ve been thinking about walking away, let me ask you to consider two things: Jesus Christ and the people that have spiritually influenced your life.
Posted in Devotions by Corey Woolner with 3 comments.
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.
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Samuel by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
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 married with children of their own. One of our married children is still living and serving the Lord in our church, which is a wonderful blessing. However, two of our married children 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.
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Samuel by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4
Read the “0328 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband. Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread. Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.” (Ruth 1:1-13)
Good morning. Naomi was at quite a low point in her life. Her husband died, then her two sons died. All she had left were her two daughter-in-laws. And she told her daughters. “…it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.”
When things go wrong, do you blame God? I must have sinned for this to happen to me. Woe is me for the hand of the Lord is gone out against me. But we forget…
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
So what happened with Naomi? God had to turn her around and get her out of Moab. He needed her back home. She didn’t leave Moab when her husband died. When her two sons died, she left Moab. There was a divine appointment waiting in Bethlehemjudah. And Ruth stayed with her.
Did you know your face changes when your countenance drops, when you’re depressed?
“So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?” (Ruth 1:19-21)
The people had to ask if this was Naomi. And Naomi said to call her Mara. Mara means bitter. Naomi was bitter, but she was home, and Ruth was with her. But it was all part of God’s plan. And to make a long story short…
“So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David. Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.” (Ruth 4:13-22)
It took some sorrow to get Naomi and Ruth to Bethlehemjudah, but Ruth had to get there to meet and marry Boaz, so they could have a child, and Ruth would be the great grandmother of king David.
Are you going through something bad? Don’t blame God. Here are three verses to remember…
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
I’m sorry, but in this world ye SHALL have tribulation. I don’t care what the prosperity preachers tell you, believe the Bible. Tribulation is going to come. Bad things happen to good people and bad people. Maybe God is just trying to turn you in the right direction like Naomi. Just remember our second verse also…
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
That’s ALL things: the good and the bad. Bad things happen in life. But what we perceive as bad, God may be using that for His good, and our good. Before you become bitter, and blame God, go to Him with your problem. “Lord, things look pretty bleak. I don’t know why I’m going through this, but You do. Help me to understand. Show me what to do.” And that leads us to the third verses…
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Trials and tribulations should not separate you from God, they should draw you closer. When bad things happen, don’t get bitter; run to God where all things work for good.
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1
Read the “0327 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” – (Judges 21:25)
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15)
I hope that you are taking the time to carefully read these chapters in the Book of Judges. If you have, then you have noticed that there certainly is a lot of wierd stuff going on here in these passages; and you may be wondering if God is putting His stamp of approval on all that was happening. He certainly is not. The Bible here is merely recording honestly the condition of God’s people as they really were in this time period. They have certainly gone a long way away from the will of God. The concluding verse (above) to the Book of Judges seems to sum it all up: “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”. They could have sang the Frank Sinatra song, “I Did It My Way”. There was no earthly king, but the real problem was that they stopped submitting to the kingship of God. Israel was in a mess morally, and they had forsaken the system of worship that God had instituted for them as they wandered in the wilderness.
We can see this same problem in our country today. Our nation used to instill Biblical principles into the lives of her citizens. A lost heathen of 100 years ago knew more about the Bible, and could quote more verses than the average Christian can today. We are a Bible illiterate society, and the dearth of the Word of God is manifesting itself in every area of our society. We are in a mess here in America. We call “right” wrong, and “wrong” right. We tolerate, condone, and even support the vilest immorality imaginable; and it is getting worse by the day. As a nation, we know precious little about the Person of God, let alone the Principles of His Word. We need to have an awakening like the children of Israel had in these chapters in the Book of Judges. Maybe God will have to shake our world a little bit more in judgment in order to get us to wake up.
I hate to say this, but the problem is also huge within our fundamental churches. It amazes me that people will come to church; listen to the Word of God as it is preached, and sometimes even nod their heads or say “Amen” in agreement; and then go out into their lives, and do the opposite of what God just instructed. And the crazy thing is, they don’t even realize that they are doing it. We need to wake up. We need God to shake us back into an awareness of our utter dependence upon Him. We need to follow the Word of God wholly, and allow the Spirit of God to guide us into all truth.
The nation of Israel entered into the land of Canaan with full intention to live according to the will of God for the rest of their existence. If you were to somehow show them how far away they would get, they would think it absurd; but slowly, and very gradually they moved further and further away from the truth. Christians, we are doing the same thing; and it is happening so gradually that we do not even notice it. Let’s get back to the basics of loving God, winning souls, and living in and by His Word.
Posted in Thoughts from Judges by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.