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 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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Obsession

obs-en-17-01

Today’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 4; Psalms 16 – 20)

“And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.  And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.” – (1 Samuel 22:18-19)

Chapter 22 of 1 Samuel is perhaps one of the saddest chapters in the Bible. King Saul has all of the priests of Nob slain because he thinks that they are complicit with David. Saul is now totally out of control. He is completed obsessed with David, and he is allowing his imaginations to completely run wild. Let me back up and review the story. David is on the run from King Saul. He enters into Nob, the city where the priests of God lived, looking for bread for himself and his men. David does not tell Ahimelech the priest the truth, which was wrong. He tells the priest that he is on a top secret mission for the king, which required haste, and that is the reason that he did not have time to get food before he left. Ahimelech and the other priests are completely innocent. The priests give David some of the old shewbread from off of the altar, and they also give him the sword of Goliath which was also being stored in the city of Nob. There was an evil man, named Doeg, in the city that day, and he observed what had happened, and then went and told Saul.

Saul sends for Ahimelech and the rest of the priests, and asks them what had happened. Ahimelech rehearses the matter before Saul exactly as it did happen, but Saul does not believe him. Saul then orders the death of all of the priests of God. Saul’s insecurity regarding David has completely usurped his ability to reason logically. His imagination is in total control, and his imaginations are being fed by the wicked one. The Bible says that we are to cast down imaginations:

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Saul’s insecurity began and took root as jealousy because of David’s successes. God obviously had his hand upon David and Saul knew it. Saul also knew that God no longer had his hand upon him. Saul’s insecurity affected the entire kingdom. Many people died because of it. Notice that Saul’s insecurity caused him to imagine that these priests were his enemies, and they were not. His insecurity also caused him to forget about his real enemy, which were the Philistines and some of the other nations surrounding Israel.

Can you relate to any of this. Have you ever imagined that people were against you without really knowing that they were? Have you ever saw a group of people gathered together without you, and imagined that they were talking about you? Have you forgotten that your enemy is Satan, not your friends and family members? Perhaps you are a little insecure yourself. You need to confess that as sin, because it is sin, and ask God to help you deal with it. Remember that God loves you just as much as he loves everyone else, and he has a wonderful plan for your life. Keep your eyes upon him, and forget about what He is doing with other people. As Jesus told Peter, “What is that to thee?” Get control of your imaginations before you totally lose it too.

 


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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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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 29; Psalms 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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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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Encouragement in the Lord

Today’s Passage – 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 also read – Matthew 13 – 14;Proverbs 7; Psalms 31 – 35

Scripture Memorization for March – John 1:1 – 18

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 19

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

Read “We Need More Timothys” by Pastor Paul Chappell

“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 battled with a lot of discouragement at times in my life. I guess when discouraging situations enter into my life, 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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A Good Friend

Today’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 – 8Proverbs 4Psalm 16 – 20

Scripture Memorization for March – John 1:1 – 18

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

Read a previous post from this passage – “Envy

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

“The LORD do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will shew it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the LORD be with thee, as he hath been with my father. And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the LORD, that I die not: But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the LORD hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth. So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the LORD even require it at the hand of David’s enemies. And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul. … And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded. And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.” (1 Samuel 20:13-17, 41-42)

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

David and Jonathan were good friends, and their friendship passed a test that proved its genuineness. Jonathan was placed in a very difficult situation. He was torn between being loyal to his father, and being faithful to his friend. Jonathan’s father, Saul, was clearly in the wrong, as Jonathan could easily see. Saul was insecure, and desparately afraid of David, though David did nothing but demonstrate loyalty and allegiance to King Saul. Jonathan had to choose between his friend David, and his father. This was cetainly not an easy choice because by choosing David, Jonathan was basically relinquishing his right to the throne. Had Jonathan allowed his father to kill David, Jonathan would have become the next king of Israel, instead of David. Jonathan chose the will of God, and his friendship, over his own selfish ambition.

David never forgot the kindness and friendship of Jonathan, even after Jonathan’s death. Years later, when David was sitting on the throne of Israel, he sought out Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. (See 2 Samuel 9) David brought Mephibosheth from Lodebar, and and gave him a place of great prominence in his kingdom:

“And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.” (2 Samuel 9:7)

God has blessed me with a few very good friends: people who I believe would die for me. There is really no greater asset in life than having a friend that will love you, support you, counsel you, serve you, and defend you. Of course, the greatest friend to all of us is the Lord Jesus, but it is also very good to know that God gives us some people here on earth whose hearts will be knit with ours. I only hope that I can be as good a friend to them as they are to me.


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I’ve Got My Eye On You

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 – 6Proverbs 3 Psalm 11 – 15

Scripture Memorization for March – John 1:1 – 18

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

Read a previous post from this passage – “Is There Not A Cause?

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

“And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.” – (1 Samuel 18:9)”

And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul.” – (1 Samuel 18:12)

“Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him.” – (1 Samuel 18:15)

“And Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul became David’s enemy continually.” – (1 Samuel 18:29)

In chapter 17 of today’s reading, we see young David taking down Goliath, the fierce giant of the Philistines. David was the only one in the camp of Israel that had enough guts to tackle the monster from Gath. All of the other men of Israel, including King Saul, feared Goliath more than they feared God; they had their eyes on their giant problem, instead of focussing on their giant problem-solving Lord. David feared the Lord, and trusted in Him, which gave him the courage to do the impossible.

In chapter 18, no longer is there an enemy to fear. Goliath is dead; the Philistines have been defeated. King Saul’s giant problem had been solved for him by David, and he should have been rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord. However, we see that a new fear has replaced Goliath in Saul’s eyes. A new giant. Now Saul is afraid of David. Again, Saul should have feared the Lord, and had his eyes on Him. Unfortunately, however, Saul’s eyes are on David. He knows that God’s hand is upon the young man, and the days of his own reign as king are coming to an end.

However, David, on the other hand, continues to fear the Lord, and serve King Saul. It seems that the more Saul tries to exterminate David, the more David does the right thing and succeeds. Notice how many times in chapter 18 the Scripture says that David behaved himself wisely. David never once attempted to react to Saul’s attacks on him. David kept trusting in God and doing what God wanted him to do. We will soon see that God will permanently remove Saul from the throne of Israel, and replace him with David.

There are three very practical truths that we can easily see in this passage:

1  Fear the Lord, not men. “If God be for us, who can be against us.” Saul was afraid of people. David feared God.

2  Keep your eyes on the Lord, not men. David continued to do what God wanted him to do and kept his eyes focused on Him, while Saul became consumed with David. Saul couldn’t function in his capacity as King, because he could not get his mind (and his eyes) off of eliminating David.

3  Know that God’s eyes are on you, too. God sees what is going on. If someone is trying to wrong you, your Heavenly Father will take care of it. You do not have to watch your back, because God is watching it for you.

Keep your eyes on the Lord. David did. Saul’s eyes were on David, but fortunately God’s eyes were on David, too.


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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 – 22;Proverbs 31

Scripture Memorization for March – 1 Corinthians 6:9 – 20

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

Read a great article by Pastor Paul Chappell  – Why the Gate is Sealed, Steps to the Resurrection, Part 7

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)

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 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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God Will Take Care Of It

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 25 – 27

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

Scripture Memory for April – 1 Corinthians 13

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

“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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Obsessed

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 22 – 24

Second Milers also read – Matthew 9 – 10; Psalm 21 – 25; Proverbs 5

Scripture Memory for April – 1 Corinthians 13

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

“And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.  And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.” – (1 Samuel 22:18-19)

Chapter 22 of 1 Samuel is perhaps one of the saddest chapters in the Bible. King Saul, has all of the priests of Nob slain because he thinks that they are complicit with David. Saul is now totally out of control. He is completed obsessed with David, and he is allowing his imaginations to completely run wild. Let me back up and review the story. David is on the run from King Saul. He enters into Nob, the city where the priests of God lived, looking for bread for himself and his men. David does not tell Ahimelech the priest the truth, which was wrong. He tells the priest that he is on a top secret mission for the king, which required haste, and that is the reason that he did not have time to get food before he left. Ahimelech and the other priests are completely innocent. The priests give David some of the old shewbread from off of the altar, and they also give him the sword of Goliath which was also being stored in the city of Nob. There was an evil man, named Doeg, in the city that day, and he observed what had happened, and then went and told Saul.

Saul sends for Ahimelech and the rest of the priests, and asks them what had happened. Ahimelech rehearses the matter before Saul exactly as it did happen, but Saul does not believe him. Saul then orders the death of all of the priests of God. Saul’s insecurity regarding David has completely usurped his ability to reason logically. His imagination is in total control, and his imaginations are being fed by the wicked one. The Bible says that we are to cast down imaginations:

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” – (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Saul’s insecurity began and took root as jealousy because of David’s successes. God obviously had his hand upon David and Saul knew it. Saul also knew that God no longer had his hand upon him. Saul’s insecurity affected the entire kingdom. Many people died because of it. Notice that Saul’s insecurity caused him to imagine that these priests were his enemies, and they were not. His insecurity also caused him to forget about his real enemy, which was the Philistines.

Can you relate to any of this. Have you ever imagined that people were against you without really knowing that they were? Have you ever saw a group of people gathered together without you, and imagined that they were talking about you? Have you forgotten that your enemy is Satan, not your friends and family members? Perhaps you are a little insecure yourself. As I said yesterday, you need to confess that as sin, because it is sin; and ask God to help you deal with it. Remember, that God loves you just as much as he loves everyone else, and he has a wonderful plan for your life. Keep your eyes upon him, and forget about what He is doing with other people. As Jesus told Peter, “What is that to thee?” Get control of your imaginations before you totally lose it too.


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Envy

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 19 – 21

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

The Scripture Memorization for the month of April is 1 Corinthians 13

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

“And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David.” – (1 Samuel 19:1)

I feel sorry for Saul. I don’t think that deep down inside he wants to hate David, but there is something about David that Saul just can’t get past. He is so envious of David; so afraid that the people are going to love David more than him, and more than his son Jonathon. David has done nothing to warrant this treatment from Saul. He has never challenged Saul’s authority; he has never rebelled against Saul’s orders; he has never failed to exceed anything that Saul has ever asked him to do. David’s sin is that he does things too well. Saul sees very plainly that the hand of God is upon David, and what’s worse is that Saul also knows that God is no longer with Saul. Samuel had told Saul that there was going to come another man, a man after God’s own heart, that God would use to replace Saul. Saul was smart enough to realize that David was the man that God had chosen.

I said that I feel sorry for Saul because I know what it is like to be envious of other people. It is something that I pray about all the time. I think envy is rooted in insecurity. Saul was insecure. He didn’t trust himself (or God) enough to fight Goliath, so he let a young boy do his fighting for him; and when David succeeded and was praised by the people it made Saul even more insecure. We can plainly see what Saul’s problem is, but how could it be fixed? And how can we get rid of the green eye of envy from our own lives? Well, to begin with we must recognize the problem; and then, like any other sin, we must confess it and ask God’s help in overcoming it. I don’t think, however, that it is a problem that will go away overnight. I have been struggling with envy all of my life. I am gradually learning, though, to not compare myself with anybody else. God has uniquely designed me for a specific purpose, which is very different from anybody elses purpose. My job is to be the best that I can be at what God has called me to do. I need to keep my focus on God, and His will, not on anyone else. You can see that Saul couldn’t see God’s will, because he was consumed with David. What a shame.

Can you relate to Saul? Do you ever find yourself being jealous and envious over other people’s abilities or maybe their possessions? Ask God to help. I believe that if we really want to be delivered from the bondage of envy, and are willing to humble ourselves before God, He will help us.

“For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.” – (Job 5:2)

“A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.” – (Proverbs 14:30)

“Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?” – (Proverbs 27:4)

“For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.” – (Mark 15:10)


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Is There Not A Cause?

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 17 – 18

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

Scripture Memory for April – 1 Corinthians 13

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Watch Growth Points Video by Pastor Chappell – “Preaching the Resurrection”

“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 was 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 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?

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 15 – 16

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

Scripture Memory for April – 1 Corinthians 13

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

“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

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 12 – 14

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

Scripture Memory for April – 1 Corinthians 13

LIsten to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 Timothy 1:17

“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, Jonathon, 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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A Good Luck Charm

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 4 – 7

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 15 – 18; Proverbs 30; Psalms 141 – 150)

Scripture Memory for March – Psalm 1

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

Read last year’s post on this passage – “Get It Out”

“And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.” – (1 Samuel 4:3)

Do you notice anything strange in the above verse? Look at the word “it” in the last phrase. The Israelites, referring to the ark of the covenant, said, “it may save us out of the hand of our enemies”. I believe it is clear from their statement here that the Israelites were not trusting in the God that “dwelleth between the cherubims” on the ark; but rather they were trusting in the ark itself as some kind of good luck charm, sort of like the rabbit foot pictured above.

Notice also that the Philistines, a heathen people, had a different attitude about the ark entering into the battle against them:

“And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp. And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore.” – (1 Samuel 4:6 & 7)

The Philistines weren’t afraid of the ark, which was just a wooden box overlaid with gold. They were afraid of the God of the ark. They knew that the ark represented the presence of God, and they also knew that if God was fighting against them, they were finished. The interesting thing is, however, that God did not help the Israelites, because they did not have the right attitude about the God of the ark. If anything, God actually helped the Philistines.

Is God just a good luck charm to you? Is He perhaps a cross on a chain that you wear wherever you go? Don’t reduce the living, omnipotent God of the universe to a mere “it”, a symbol that may or may not help you when you’re in a jam. He is God. He is the sovereign Lord; the King of Kings. He deserves your worship, He demands your obedience, and He desires your fellowship.


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Encouragement From The Lord

Today’s Reading – I Samuel 28-31; Proverbs 7

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 13 – 14; Memorize 1 Corinthians 1 – 4)

“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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Saul Has Totally Lost It

Today’s Passage – I Samuel 22-24; Proverbs 5

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 9 – 10; Memorize 1 Corinthians 1 – 4)

 And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.  And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword. – (1 Samuel 22:18-19)

Chapter 22 of 1 Samuel is perhaps one of the saddest chapters in the Bible. King Saul, has all of the priests of Nob slain because he thinks that they are complicit with David. Saul is now totally out of control. He is allowing his imaginations to completely run wild. Let me back up and review the story. David is on the run from King Saul. He enters into Nob, the city where the priests of God lived, looking for bread for himself and his men. David does not tell Ahimelech the priest the truth, which was wrong. He tells the priest that he is on a top secret mission for the king, which required haste, and that is the reason that he did not have time to get food before he left. Ahimelech and the other priests are completely innocent. The priests give David some of the old shewbread from off of the altar, and they also give him the sword of Goliath which was also being stored in the city of Nob. There was an evil man, named Doeg, in the city that day, and he observed what had happened, and then went and told Saul.

Saul sends for Ahimelech and the rest of the priests, and asks them what had happened. Ahimelech rehearses the matter before Saul exactly as it did happen, but Saul does not believe him. Saul then orders the death of all of the priests of God. Saul’s insecurity regarding David has completely usurped his ability to reason logically. His imagination is in total control, and his imaginations are being fed by the wicked one. The Bible says that we are to cast down imaginations:

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; – (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Saul’s insecurity began and took root as jealousy because of David’s successes. God obviously had his hand upon David and Saul knew it. Saul also knew that God no longer had his hand upon him. Saul’s insecurity affected the entire kingdom. Many people died because of it. Notice that Saul’s insecurity caused him to imagine that these priests were his enemies, and they were not. His insecurity also caused him to forget about his real enemy, which was the Philistines.

Can you relate to any of this. Have you ever imagined that people were against you without really knowing that they were? Have you ever saw a group of people gathered together without you, and imagined that they were talking about you? Have you forgotten that your enemy is Satan, not your friends and family members? Perhaps you are a little insecure yourself. As I said yesterday, you need to confess that as sin, because it is sin; and ask God to help you deal with it. Remember, that God loves you just as much as he loves everyone else, and he has a wonderful plan for your life. Keep your eyes upon him, and forget about what He is doing with other people. As Jesus told Peter, “What is that to thee?” Get control of your imaginations before you totally lose it too.


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