Read the “0414 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites. And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.) Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the LORD? And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What ye shall say, that will I do for you. And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel, Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, whom the LORD did choose. And the king said, I will give them. But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD’S oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite: And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest. And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night. And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done. And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabeshgilead, which had stolen them from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa: And he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged. And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was intreated for the land.” (2Samuel 21:1-14)
Good morning. There was famine in the land. And it was all because of Saul and his bloody house: he had slain the Gibeonites (this is the only verse in the Bible that mentions this). This is easy to conceive because of what Saul did to the priests of God…
“And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father’s house. And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD. 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. And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David. And Abiathar shewed David that Saul had slain the LORD’S priests.” (1Samuel 22:16-21)
Saul’s house was indeed bloody, and God sent the famine. After inquiring of God about the cause, king David went to the Gibeonites to find out what they wanted from Saul’s family to make amends. They asked for seven sons of Saul to hang. Mephiboseth, the son of Jonathan was spared. Mephiboseth and Armoni, the sons of Saul were taken along with the five sons of Michal, Saul’s daughter. The Gibeonites hung them. In all this bloodshed there is however, an act of kindness. Rizpah, the mother of Mephiboseth and Armoni, came and chased birds and beasts away from the bodies of the seven men. This was all through the harvest season. The usual result of an act of kindness is another act of kindness. After hearing what Rizpah did, king David collected the bones of Saul and Jonathan. He also collected the bones of the seven men. He took the bones of Saul and Jonathan and buried them in the sepulchre of their father Kish. Now look at the very last line of our text passage…
“…And after that God was intreated for the land.” (2Samuel 21:14)
They were able to earnestly ask God to heal their land. The prayers of Israel were being hindered because of the wrong done by Saul. When they made things right with the Gibeonites, and buried Saul and his sons, they were able to go to God in prayer. Did you know that your prayers can be hindered too?
1) Your prayers can be hindered by how you treat your wife.
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1Peter 3:7)
2) Your prayers can be hindered by how you live your life.
“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” (1Peter 3:12)
“Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.” (Psalm 34:13-16)
It’s your choice to live your life for the LORD, or live your life in rebellion: do you want your prayers answered?
3) Your prayers can be hindered by how you forgive others.
“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25-26)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9)
If God does that for us, should we not do the same for others?
4) Your prayers can be hindered by how you ask as well as what you ask for.
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:1-3)
5) Your prayers can be hindered by unbelief and doubt.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
6) Your prayers can be hindered by unconfessed sins.
“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.” (Psalm 66:18-20)
How can you get rid of any hindrance to your prayer? Confess your sins, believe God, ask according to His will, forgive others, live your life according to God’s will, and treat your wife the way you should.
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