Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tuesday - 1 Samuel 30 - Here War, There War, Everywhere War, War

Ah yes, David escaped from battling against his own people! But alas, when he arrived back home, Ziklag was gone.  The Amalekites had invaded and taken everything and everybody.  Now, you want to talk about being alone... when David's men realized what had happened, they were ready to kill him.  But, David sought for God's face in the middle of this trial too.

With God's approval, David and 2/3 of his men went after the Amalekites in order to rescue their wives and children. With help from an Egyptian servant who had been abandoned by those same Amalekites, David found them and retrieved everything. He soundly defeated the Amalekites and returned to Ziklag.  And, not only did he and his men take back all that was rightfully theirs, but they took all the belongings of the Amalekites too and divided them with their fellows who had been too weak to go to battle. They had such a great quantity of spoils that they even sent gifts to his friends in Judah who had allowed him to hide among them during all the time that he had been fleeing from Saul.

David was truly a man of war (1st Chronicles 28:3). It seems that everywhere he turned there was conflict. And, although he was truly destroying the enemies of God and of Israel, all his fighting had a distinct effect on him. Read his last words as he lay on his deathbed and you will find that David's violent life affected him to the end (1st Kings 2:1-9).

Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday - 1 Samuel 29 - He Almost Lost His Cover

According to my Encarta dictionary, a cover is a "protective pretense: a false identity or a pretext that provides protection for somebody." David the son of Jesse was pretending to be Israel's enemy and was acting as if he was a friend of Achish and the Philistines.  In fact, he carried the act so far that he ended up marching toward the battlefield WITH (not against) Philistines (1 Samuel 29:2) and even complained when they decided that he shouldn't be allowed to go with them to fight against his own Hebrew brethren (I Samuel 29:8). It was most certainly a strange and potentially dangerous situation in which David had put himself. Thankfully, God protected him from the Philistines... and even from his own bungling.

Do you and I ever put ourselves in strange and dangerous predicaments? I do. I'm so thankful that God is willing to walk with us through the valleys that we end up in, even when we are there because WE took a wrong turn contrary to His directions. The potential arises to hurt fellow believers, to damage God's reputation among men, to inhibit spiritual growth and evangelistic progress, to fall into sin or to confuse unbelievers.  In such situations, we desperately need God's sovereign hand of providential provision, protection and usurpation. David had his men in a rather sticky circumstance... but, God was merciful and helped them out of it. Isn't God good! His mercy is everlasting and His generosity knows no bounds. Praise God for His wonderful loving-kindness!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Saturday - 1 Samuel 28 - A Real Witch

God had instructed Israel to kill anyone among them who was a witch (Exodus 22:18 & Deuteronomy 18:10). It would have been Saul's duty to carry out that injunction in his day. And, at some point in his term as king, Saul had done exactly that (I Samuel 28:3). But, because he didn't vigilantly continue to do away with that evil option in his kingdom, and, because God refused to help him, Saul ended up consulting a witch himself to try to get direction for his future.

It is a strange story. Saul went to God for help. But, neither prophets nor priests were used of God to give him any information. So, he asked for a search. He wanted to find a witch. And, they found one living at Endor. So, Saul disguised himself and went to have her conduct a private séance for him. Now, necromancy (communication with the dead) was considered an abomination (Deuteronomy 18:10-11), but Saul wanted to speak with Samuel. And, Samuel was already dead. Hence Israel's king kneeled with this evil woman to seek an answer from the powers of darkness.

Now, admittedly the things that happened there that night were strange. Closely examining what happened there will not necessarily yield anything profitable for us.  Was it truly Samuel that came to talk to Saul, or was it a demon assuming Samuel's identity? Does it ultimately even matter? The devil was the wicked influence at work there that night and Saul stood condemned already.  God had moved on from him.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday - 1 Samuel 27 - David & Achish

Despite the failure of David's former solo jaunt to Gath, David and his 600 tried out the welcome there again. And, although it took some deception on the part of David and his men, it worked out well for them. Achish gave them Ziklag for their hangout, and David took advantage of that offer for 16 months. During his stay, he obliterated the inhabitants of several different Gentile towns and villages. Not only that, but he led Achish to believe that he was killing Jews.  So Achish was confident that David had truly defected to his side.

Even though he was far from home and was seemingly far from his calling, David's heart was aimed in the right direction. He was fighting for his people (the Jews) and against their enemies.

This story reminds me of Jesus' prayer as it was recorded in John 17:15, "I pray not that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil." David wasn’t close to the Tabernacle. He wasn't in a position where he could openly and loyally serve the rightful king of Israel. He was seemingly at a distinct disadvantage in relation to what God had planned for him to do ultimately in Israel. Yet, he found a way to accomplish things that fit well with his overall purpose.

How about with you and me? Do we sometimes just sit around spiritually, waiting for a more convenient opportunity to present itself? Why not fight the devil where we are with whatever tools we have?  If we wait for the perfect opportunity, we'll miss out on some great ones along the way.  In a secular workplace, among unregenerate family members, in the middle of a debilitating illness, in the loss of loved ones and friends, or wandering nearly alone down the lane toward the sunset of your life... keep on keeping on. As Theodore Roosevelt supposedly said, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."  That's what David did.  That's what you and I should do too.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thursday - 1 Samuel 26 - Saul & David in the Wilderness

Whoever the Ziphites were, they sure were a pain in David's neck. For the second time, we read that they went and told King Saul where David was hiding (I Samuel 23:19 & 26:1). And, much like David had done when Saul had wandered into the cave he was hiding in, David found Saul in a helpless situation. At the first encounter, he took part of Saul's robe. This time he took his spear and his canteen.

As Saul and his 3000 men lay sleeping, David snuck right into their camp with his nephew Abishai. Abishai wanted very much to kill Saul (I Samuel 26:8), but David wouldn't let him do it. So, they borrowed Saul’s spear and canteen and went on through the campsite. Then David shouted to awake Abner and Saul. He did all of this evidently to prove that they had no justification for chasing him. He was showing his restraint in that he obviously could have killed the king, and yet he hadn't done it. So, once again Saul apologized to David and commended him for his character. As it turned out, this was the last encounter between the 2 men (I Samuel 27:4).

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesday - 1 Samuel 25 - David & Abigail

David had a wife. Her name was Michal. She was a princess, but King Saul gave her to another man while David was out and about running for his life. Here we read that David found another wife, although it doesn't seem that he was looking for one. Actually, David and his men were simply looking for some sustaining supplies, but the rich man (Nabal) was completely unsympathetic. Now, David had evidently been kind to Nabal's people and felt like Nabal owed him some kindness (I Samuel 25:15-16). So, being a man of war and feeling the offense of Nabal, David purposed to rise violently against him because of his evil attitude. But, God had other plans.

Nabal had a beautiful and intelligent wife named Abigail. Wisely she rose and corrected the error of her husband. In so doing she spared the lives of many from her household, and also prevented David from overstepping his bounds. In the process, she was taken from Nabal and given to David (Job 31:9-10 & II Samuel 12:8). God literally killed Nabal (because he was wickedly opposed to David... opposed to him for no good reason at all). David had intended to do it; to take Nabal's life from him (I Samuel 25:22), but God did it instead (I Samuel 25:38).

Now, the attitude of Abigail was surely very special. Notice how she not only went prepared to correct the evil her husband was guilty of, but she was even willing to take the blame for him (I Samuel 25:28).  She was knowledgeable about the current events of her day and how they related to David (I Samuel 25:29-30). She knew when to hold her tongue and when to speak out (I Samuel 25:36). And, she understood humility and diplomacy (I Samuel 25:41).  So. David married Abigail...  along with another lady; Ahinoam.