Wednesday, May 31: 2Samuel 12- Accountable to God's word.

The story of David and Bathsheba is a sad one. The consequences of David’s sin have ramifications for years to come. Even though the Lord removed David’s sin (13), there still were some consequences that David had to face.

Nathan’s rebuke in verse 9 caught my attention. It reads, Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. God revealed  all the sorted details to the prophet. I thought, “Wow, God really does know everything!!!”

But what struck me most forcefully were the words, Why did you despise the word of the LORD. The importance of knowing God’s Word. It was not just that David despised the Lord; it was that he despised the word of the Lord.

Way back in Deuteronomy, God gave Moses a word about when Israel would ask for a king, Among the regulations set by the Lord for the king, it says:

When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel (Deuteronomy 17:18-20).

Assuming David did this, he had his own copy of the law which he was to read daily. This is how he would know what God expected of him. The law was to be a guide for his life. Such is the value of being in God’s Word daily.

Like David and the kings, so with us today… day after day, year after year in God’s Word is meant to shape our life and living so that we may learn to revere the LORD our God and follow carefully all the words of His law and these decrees.

And God will hold us accountable to His Word!

Oh, Lord, plant Your Word deeply into my soul, mind and heart. Oh, Lord, may Your Word be a guiding light and path for me all the days of my life until I live with You forever in eternity. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Tuesday, May 30: 2Samuel 11- David is human after all.

We have been reading about the life of David for some weeks now and at times it felt like David was perfect. He prayed at the right times and heard from God when he needed a word. David was king and a strong leader. He was a man of military might, and yet, he could play an instrument and sooth a wounded soul. There were times I wondered, “Who is that good?”

Well, today I learn David is not perfect, he is human after all.  While sin is never something to smile about, there is a part of me that did smile when I read this chapter, not because of David’s sin, but because he was real and now I can relate to him.  Yes, I have sins and failures but I can also be someone who cultivates love and relationship for God that makes a difference for Him and good in this world like the great David did.

David’s actions also remind me that I have areas in my life where I am particularly weak. As I watched David, he seemed to lean into the opportunity to sin, rather than turning away from it. When his eyes spied a woman bathing, he leaned in first inquiring about her and then sending for her. There were any number of moments along the way that he could have repented and stopped pursuing passion and sin. There were any number of times a voice of reason could have spoken truth to him.  However, he sought no counsel and servants don’t question the master, they just do the master’s bidding. So David was flying solo… no help, no counsel, no accountability.

Flying solo in our areas of weakness is a dangerous proposition.

Oh, Lord, help me to see my weak areas and to find a ‘wing man’ whom I trust.  Someone who will give me grace-filled, God-honoring advice that can stem the rising tide of sin within me and lead me back to the safety of mature godly behavior. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.



Monday, May 29: 2Samuel 10- Pray for your national leaders.

I found myself wondering about the pressures of running a country. Oh, the pressures and decisions David faced. He tried to do a nice thing, sending condolences on the death of a neighboring king. However, the son and his new advisors misread the intention and things escalated until a war broke out.

As a citizen I never face decisions like this. My decisions might affect my household or extended family, my decisions may even affect some people where I work, but my decisions will never send a country to war. Country leaders face an entirely different magnitude of decisions than I will ever face. This diplomatic misunderstanding resulted in the death of 40,000 soldiers and very possibly the destruction of cities.

As I considered this one incident it occurred to me how significant national leaders are. No wonder God enjoins His people to pray for leaders, and those in authority… (1Timothy 2:1-2).

I am not very good at remembering to pray for my country leaders… certainly God is reminding me to do so today…

Oh, Lord, I pray for President Trump, for the men and women who advise him and for the congress –Representatives and Senators. I pray that these people would govern wisely and honorably before You and for the people of my country and the world. Give them wisdom to read diplomatic situations wisely. Give them restrain when it comes to sending soldiers into harms’ way or deploying weapons of mass destruction. Help them to lead our country to be a force for good and the betterment of humanity throughout the world. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Saturday, May 27: 2Samuel 9- Kindness for kindness sake.

David’s kingdom is becoming more stable and secure. God’s hand is certainly on David. Out of his blessing David seeks to bless someone from Saul’s family for the sake and love he had for Jonathan.

After a search is conducted, it turns out that Jonathan has a son still living.  David blesses him, returning his inheritance and inviting him to dine at the King’s table for the rest of David’s reign.

There appears to be no motivation for this act of kindness other than kindness itself. David wanted to do a kindness to his friend Jonathan… Kindness for kindness sake.

David gained no political advantage.  This was not done because he owed Jonathan a favor, it was purely a kindness for kindness sake.

The phrase ‘kindness for kindness sake’ stuck to me. The Lord started working inside of me. When was the last time I showed a kindness for kindness sake? When was the last time someone was on my heart and I just did something nice. When was the last time I did that for someone not an immediate family member or good friend?

Kindness is one of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22-23) that is supposed to be flourishing in the life of a Believer... is it flourishing in mine?

Oh, Lord, fertilize kindness in me. Help me to see acts of niceness that can brighten the lives of other people. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Friday, May 26: 2Samuel 8- Dedicated to the Lord.

This chapter sums up many of David’s years as king. Beyond all the exploits, one line captured David’s heart for me. King David dedicated these articles to the LORD, as he had done with the silver and gold from all the nations he had subdued (11).

As his fame and might rose, David continues to remain dedicated solely to the Lord.

Were someone to chronicle my life, I wondered, would it be obvious to them that I remained dedicated solely to the Lord as David was?

What in my life would be evidence of my dedication? My giving? My serving? My character? My words? My manner of life? My use of godly disciplines?

If I am truly dedicated solely to the Lord then my life will show it…

Oh, Lord, show me many ways that I can put my dedication to You in practice. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Thursday, May 25: 2Samuel 7- Blessings of God.

I was sitting and thinking about what it must have been like for David to have this exchange with God, to learn how much God loved him and how much God was going to bless him. What a wonderful day that must have been.

My thoughts quickly rotated… the Lord God has blessed me (and all His followers) with similar blessings!

We have been blessed with eternal life, more than a lineage that will rule forever, we have been granted safe passage into eternal life when our earthly life is over. In eternity we will reign with the Lord and live in His perfect kingdom forever and ever!

In this life we have be granted a peace that passes all understanding. Even when storms rage in and around our lives we can have peace, peace only God can give!

We have been granted every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Oh, these blessings are not necessarily earthly blessings; they are more powerful. They are blessings like… being loved by God; having a way out from every temptation; assurance of pardon and forgiveness from all the sins we have committed. Also gifts of God’s leading during life and knowing His voice… shall I keep going?  Having my identity formed and dictated by the God of heaven and earth not the whims of people around me. There is no way to measure the ‘value’ of these blessings.

All these and so much more are granted to me along with Sonship by the God of glory all as gifts growing from God’s call in my life to follow Jesus.

David received some wonderful blessings from the Lord, so have I and so has everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus to be saved.

Enjoy some time today reveling in the blessings of God which are yours through faith in Jesus and then bless His name…

Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above you heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Yes, Lord, I will praise You… I deserved nothing and yet You have given. I receive with gratitude and joy and bless your name… for You are good and it is right to praise and thank You –Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit. Amen


Wednesday, May 24: 2Samuel 6- Desire and the word.

David loved the Lord. His desire was to honor God, worship God and to spread the fame of the Lord near and far.

With his capital city secure, David sought to honor the Lord by bringing His Ark into the city and David arranged for an elaborate entrance party. Part of his arrangements was to build a brand new cart to carry the ark on its journey. His intention was admirable and it came from a heart of love, however David’s cart idea was misguided. David likely didn’t know that the Ark was to be carried by poles not on a cart and a disaster happened. Uzzah should have known better than to steady the Ark by laying a hand on it. He was killed by the Lord instantly for his insolence.

After three months David cools down and apparently gets instruction from the Word of God and they carry the Ark into the city with great fanfare and worship.

Sometimes we can do things for the Lord with wonderful intentions but what we are doing does not line up with God’s Word.

Obedience, not sacrifice, brings joy to the Lord.

Human intentions are one aspect of a faith-filled life, the other is obedience to God’s Will and way as presented in His eternal Word. Both passion and obedience are important if we are going to live faithfully to the Lord. David learned this lesson the hard way…

Oh, God ,may I learn this lesson from David. Teach me Your Word so that my manner of living will match my desire and intention to live for You. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Tuesday, May 23: 2Samuel 5- Drawbacks to our instant society.

If I read things correctly David was made king of Judah at age 30,  king over all Israel at 37 and he reigned until he was 70. David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years (4-5).

David was a younger boy when he came into Saul’s service. Therefore, David has labored and served and fought battles and hid from Saul for years.  Then he received a part of his promised kingship and lived with that for another 7 years before the Lord’s Word to him came into fruition.

Years, decades of service before God’s promise was fulfilled! All this time David remained faithful, going about his business with integrity, learning more and more how to walk with and trust the Lord.

We want things quickly and this is growing truer in our instant society. I bought a pair of athletic shoes last week. I went to the store but then if I ordered them online, which I did at the store, I saved over 50%. It was worth it to me to save the money. Now a week later I am waiting for them to show up at my door, it will be seven to eight days when they arrive tomorrow according to the package tracker. I thought it would take only two to three days.  If I had ordered them on Amazon Prime it would have only taken two days from when I press confirm order. Seven to eight days seems like an ‘eternity’.

Like I said, we are used to getting things instantly and yet David waited more than a decade!!!

Things of God, particularly character, do not come quickly. They are slowly learned over time and often through testing

Watching and reading about David reminds me about faithfulness… faithfulness day in and day out. That is what God desires and He will work His will out in His time not ours!

Am I being faithful to the Lord today?

Am I willing to remain faithful for as long as it takes?

Am I willing to remain faithful until my dying day?

These are the probes the Lord makes into my life as I sit today with Him.

Oh, Lord, give me patient endurance to walk every day of my life with You. I pray this in the name of Jesus who walked all the way to Calvary for me. Amen and Amen.


Monday, May 22: 2Samuel 4- Live differently.

In a ruthless age, when human life seemed to mean little to most people, David once again sets a standard of righteousness for his throne and kingdom.

The suggestion from the text is that most kings would have honored these 2 ruthless men for killing the king’s rival. But not David; he marched to the beat of a different drummer. He followed a different set of internal and external rules. David honored the Lord, rather than simply doing what was expedient.

The Lord tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I am willing live similarly. Will I follow His rules rather than the rules of the people of my culture?

In my world, out right murder of my enemy is not the issue… but there are still many aspects of life where God’s way and the world’s way differ.

Jesus said ‘turn the other cheek’ (Matthew 5:39, Luke 6:29) When insulted, my world generally advocates getting even or ahead. Which road do I follow?

Jesus said ‘You can’t serve both God and money’ (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13) and Paul reminded us that ‘The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil’ (1Timothy 6:10). Much of my world is driven by serving and loving money.  Whose way will I follow?

Jesus said ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  However, my world features a lot of hate and it is hard to be immune from picking up my world’s vibe.

And so my morning went as God laid out for me the way of my world and His way. Each time God asked me if I would be a David to my own world and live differently… by living a God honoring life…

How about you?

Lord, I wondered as I began reading how Your voice might speak through this portion of Your Word. You have spoken to me and I am feeling the weight of conviction.  I am seeing my failures and deficiencies in my life. Forgive my lack and my sin; cleanse me and Lord strengthen me so that tomorrow I might be just a bit more faithful than today. May  that be so each day of my life until you take me home to be with You for eternity. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Saturday, May 20: 2Samuel 3- How much of the Lord's will do I know and yet not follow and obey?.

May God deal with Abner, be it ever so severely, if I do not do for David what the LORD promised him on oath and transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish David’s throne over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba. (9-10).

Reading this chapter it struck me how even the General of Israel, the man leading the fight against David, knew that God had anointed David to be the next king of Israel. How did he know this? How had the Lord spread the word that David would be king?

Then as the chapter progressed I learned that all Israel wanted to make David king Abner conferred with the elders of Israel and said, “For some time you have wanted to make David your king. Now do it! For the LORD promised David, ‘By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies’ ” (17-18). So now whether Abner told the men for the first time or reiterated what they already knew, Abner and all his fighting men knew that the Lord has promised the kingdom to David.

What struck me in all this is how widespread the Lord’s plan was known and still Israel warred against each other. So deep is the human propensity for sin.

How much of the Lord’s will do I know and yet not follow and obey?

Too much…

And as this truth sunk in, my humanness and need for a savior sunk in as well.

How much we all need Jesus… His forgiveness, atonement and love.

Oh, Lord God, You have done for me what I could never have done for myself.  You have saved me from the folly of sin and given me the joy of knowing You. Words cannot convey the love and appreciation and joy which You have graciously given to me. I praise You, my Lord and my Savior. Amen and amen.


Friday, May 19: 2Samuel 2- An unnecessary war.

David continues to impress. Saul is dead and time has passed. Before David makes a move he consults with the Lord (1). Moving at the impulse of the Lord has become second nature for David.

Lord that is my dream and desire… to be so connected with You that I continually consult with You about my moves. Oh, Lord, may it become as natural as rain to consult You as I might consult my wife or a trusted friend about this topic or that. That we live in connection… me with You and You with me. Following the life of David shows me that a person can live like that. Lead me, Lord, lead me. I pray in Your name, Jesus. Amen.

A second element struck me as I read this morning. Not only were Israelites warring against Israelites, but some of the men were on first name basis with men on the opposing side. Abner and Ashael knew each other. They spoke personally and directly as one chased the other.  When Ashael wouldn’t stop Abner killed him.

Most often in war people vilify the enemy, often giving them slang derogatory names, which eases the burden of killing and maiming. However with this war, these men were brothers in faith and neighbors in life.

I tried to imagine what that was like, but honestly I could not.

The pain and agony and horrible situations that strong men leaders can put their people through is horrendous.

A truly sad element of this unfolding story is that God had spoken; David was the Lord’s choice. The fighting from God’s vantage point was completely unnecessary. All the loss of life, all the personal pain, all the families without husbands and sons… all was due to disobedience to the Lord.

How much pain in our world is similarly caused? And in Israel’s case they should have known better. They were God’s people.  The same can be said for the church…

Oh. Lord, forgive me for the pain my sin causes. Forgive me for the times I darken Your light within me. Forgive me for shrinking back when You direct me to move forward. Forgive me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen


Thursday, May 18: 2Samuel 1- Is faithfulness to the Lord a highest priority in your life?.

It hit me that Saul and Jonathan were killed in the battle David was dismissed from fighting. How would things have looked if David and his men were part of the battle that killed Saul? Well, that eventuality was never faced because the Lord arranged for David to be kept from that battle.

Now in today’s reading we hear how an Amalekite thought he was doing David a favor by making sure Saul was dead.

Though Saul was trying to kill David, David was heartbroken to learn of Saul’s and Jonathan’s deaths.  David had a profound honor for Saul as the Lord’s anointed. Despite their personal problems, David honored Saul because of his love and honor for the Lord who anointed Saul.

We saw multiple times how David refused to harm Saul. Now he weeps for his death.

David was a man of action and passion but faithfulness to the Lord was always of highest priority for David.

The phrase ‘faithfulness to the Lord was always highest priority’ hit me. Is that true of me???

Making faithfulness to the Lord his highest priority was what made David a man after God’s own heart.

Faithfulness to the Lord as my highest priority… that is a profound thought. Can I truly live into it?

Oh, Lord God, may it be so. May I have the strength, the wherewithal and the drive to make You my highest priority. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Wednesday, May 17: 1Samuel 31- Is the world a better place because of Your life?.

Death comes to everyone. So on one hand this is the inevitable account of someone who met his last day on earth. We will all meet that day in one way or another. However, on the other hand this is a tragic story. God spoke judgment over Saul for his turn of heart away from the Lord.  His death and those of his sons are the result of God’s judgment upon him. His family line had to be sealed off so that the new Davidic line could be established. How sad.

How sad that Jonathan died, in part, as a result of his father’s failures and sins. The Jonathan we meet in the pages of Scripture is a good man who loved David and was committed to David. He pledged his allegiance to David and offered to be his second. Truly quite amazing. Sadly, he dies alongside his father.

As I think about the folly of one man, particularly a man in power, often it results in the death of many innocents. In my lifetime too many strong men have waged wars in which regular folk died to feed the strong man’s lust for power or gain. We live in what can be a sad world.

But it doesn't have to be that way. The power of Jesus is infiltrating our world one person at a time as people say ‘yes’ to faith in Jesus.  People in Jesus have the power to say ‘no’ to the selfish madness of the human heart and live a better life, a God honoring life, a life that loves, and cares and lifts others up.

Does every Believer live that way?  No!  Christendom has perpetrated its own atrocities. BUT despite some bad apples, people of faith in Jesus have brought much good to our world.  More importantly we, who are alive today, can bring much good to our world.  If we will open our hearts to the Lord and allow His touch and the power of the Holy Spirit within to lead us into good, to be peacemakers, to love.

Every one of us will die. Question is, will our living make the world a better place or will it add more pain and sorry?

Consider how you are living… I am. Ask God to help you be a positive force for good in your world.

Oh, God, help me to shine Your light, Your love and Your grace today. May people see You in me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Tuesday, May 16: 1Samuel 30- When in trouble to whom do you turn?.

When David was sent away from the Philistine battle, the Lord was not only saving him from the ethical dilemma of fighting his brother Israelites, God was also giving David a chance to save the families and livestock of all his men.

The Lord God sees all and from a human perspective is working many angles at one time. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise!!!

Watching David handle this crisis is a study in leadership and devotion.

David is a broken man and he weeps with his men (4). David’s ability to enter his pain and the pain of others is incredible. Joy or weeping, his men see the real David. How many of us are that vulnerable with others in our lives, especially people who work with and for us?

In his grief, David keeps his wits enough to sense the pulse of his men… their anger and the potential of an uprising.

What does David do? He turns to the Lord (7-8) and he does so publically so everyone realizes he is seeking God, his God! This action by David speaks loudly.

When David is in trouble he turns to the Lord. When I am in trouble where do I turn? This is a question each of us should ask. When we are in trouble to whom do we turn?

I am reminded of Psalm 27, which is a Psalm written by David. It will be my prayer this morning.

The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.  Psalm 27:1-4


Monday, May 15: 1Samuel 29- God who intervenes.

I wonder what David would have done had he engaged in the battle against Saul and the forces of Israel? We will never know because God provided a way out. The other Philistine rulers refused to have David go into battle with them, so David was sent back.

I began to think about situations that God worked out, those situations where I was concerned about something and then God smoothed the path. The Lord is a mighty God and I have so much to be thankful for… His care, His provision, His going before me.

I paused and thanked the Lord for any number of situations that came to mind where His hand brought an answer. God is so good and my heart is warming as I remember some of His mighty acts.

Then this got me wondering about how many times God intervened and I had no clue about what God did… a texting driver who looked up with just enough time to avoid hitting me, a virus God cast from my body before it could manifest into disease, and so on.

I found myself delighting in the Lord and His care for me and others I know and love. I, we, serve a mighty and great God when we serve and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above you heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost…

Oh, Lord God, I have no way of knowing where I might be if it were not for Your grace and providential care… Your hand watching over me. I am sorry for my sin and the ways I have dragged Your name through the mud by my actions. I am sorry for all the times I have been faithless and repaid Your goodness with bad behavior in return. Thank You for forgiveness and for loving me at all time. I bless You and I praise You. Through Jesus, my Lord, I pray. Amen.


Saturday, May 13: 1Samuel 28- Can you admit failure?.

This is such a peculiar story with many open questions. Rather than dwell on the difficult parts of the story, I found myself meditating on the story as a unit. Saul, who expelled mediums from the land, chooses to find and go to a medium in a time of crisis.

The Lord stopped speaking with Saul or answering him by way of prophet or priest. He inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets (6). Instead of humbling himself, admitting guilt and seeking restoration with the Lord, Saul does what he knows God abhors.  He seeks out a medium.

Why is it so hard for some of me (us) to admit failure and sin?

In the life of Saul we can see how disastrous it can be to be so full of pride we cannot face our failures and sins!

As soon as I wrote those words above, God spun the tables on me… probing me. Why are there times when I find it difficult to admit failure and mistakes? What is it in my life that drives me, at times, to act/pretend I am perfect?

This question and others the Lord has asked me are never simple to answer. They require time with the Lord and honesty with myself…

After spending some time with the Lord… my time for closing prayer came.

Lord, recently I needed a root canal. It was not fun. The pain before and the procedure itself was no joy. But the fact that I no longer have pain in my tooth and running up to my ear is soooo good. It is freeing.

I pray that as I deal with my true self, times of probing may not be ‘fun’ but my hope and trust is that freedom and joy will result as I move closer to You and allow more of your light to shine through me. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.



Friday, May 12: 1Samuel 27- Ruthless days.

It is hard for me to wrap my head around the life David lived. The days in which he lived are so different than my life… harsher and rougher. To provide for his men and family David spent a year raiding towns and killing everyone; men, women and children. Today we would call him a murderer and thief or possibly even a terrorist.

While the text indicated a smidge of honorableness in David’s actions: Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. (From ancient times these peoples had lived in the land extending to Shur and Egypt.) Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish (8-9). These peoples were not Israelite but ancient enemies of the Israelites; there is for me still a horror in David’s actions.

I equate David’s actions with the wildwest US military raiding parties who killed thousands of Native Americans and for that matter, Native American raiding parties who killed many settlers during those years as well.

I also struggle to think that this same David wrote so many of the magnificent Psalms. I thumbed through some of the Psalms…

Psalm 41:1-3: Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble. The LORD protects and preserves them— they are counted among the blessed in the land— he does not give them over to the desire of their foes. The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.


Psalm 26:1-11: Vindicate me, LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD and have not faltered. Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites. I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked. I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, LORD, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.

LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells. Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with those who are bloodthirsty, in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes. I lead a blameless life; deliver me and be merciful to me.

This man raided and killed unsuspecting people.

I don’t know what to do with this. I also have never fled for my life, spent years on the run from a powerful and cruel adversary all the while being responsible for the care of few thousand people (600 soldiers and all their family members) while on the run.

One thing about the Bible is that it doesn’t sugar coat its heroes, we see them in their raw humanness.

I still know integrity matters (yesterday’s lesson) and that living up to God’s laws matters. I also know some people are forced into horrible situations and have to make terrible decisions.

I just pray:

Lord, should I ever find myself in those kinds of situations I pray I will remain true to You. I pray, too, that my heart never grows hard and cold. Like David, for all his faults and humanness, he remained a man after Your own heart. May that be true of me, too… May that be true of m,e too. Amen.


Thursday, May 11: 1Samuel 26- Proof of integrity.


David makes a valiant, some might say foolish, effort to prove his integrity. He sneaks into the middle of Saul’s camp and steals Saul’s spear and jug, both positioned right by Saul as he slept.

For the second time David refuses to kill Saul, God’s anointed.

After making his escape with the king’s possessions David announces to the camp what he has done. From beginning to end this was an ‘all out’ play to prove his integrity.

Had David been caught he would have been killed on the spot as an intruder trying to harm the king. The only play that didn’t result in David’s death was the one that happened. It was a desperate gambit.

How much was his integrity worth to David?

How much is my integrity worth to me? How much is your integrity worth to you?

Is it worth paying additional taxes because you file with honesty?

Is it worth returning to the store when you are given back too much change?

Is it worth admitting to something you have done when you could have gotten away with it?

Again, how much is your integrity worth to you? 

And when we stand before the Lord and He queries how we used our life and how we shined the light of Jesus through our living, how much will a life in integrity mean then?

Lord, David was a man after your own heart. Integrity was just one life attribute that grew out of his love for and emulation of You. I pray that love for and commitment to You would blossom in a life of integrity and other God-honoring character traits in my life. I pray this through Jesus, my Savior. Amen.


Wednesday, May 10: 1Samuel 25- Nabal -how we should not live.

Reading the story of Nabal, I began wondering about people who are miserly and those who are generous. Clearly Nabal didn’t have to reward David and his men.  But it seems that there was some cultural convention, which dictated that given what David and his men did for the shepherds they should have been rewarded in some fashion. Nabal was miserly and he was clearly a rich miserly person. He may have spent as much on his party as it would have cost him to reward David and his men. In fact, some of the supplies Abigail sent might have been earmarked for the party, since it represents a good deal of food already prepared.

Whether it was for the party or just part of Nabal’s general supplies, it was food he had on hand and food he could spare.

In the New Testament, Jesus and Paul both laud generosity, generosity toward God and generosity in caring for the church and those in need. Nabal represents how we should not live, thinking only of self.

As is often the case the Lord begins to use the text as a mirror into my own life, causing me to consider my generosity and my miserliness. Sometimes I just don’t want to be generous… is it prudence or miserliness? This is the question of the morning. Thinking through some of the situations, I wonder if I have some situational biases… certain people, types towards whom I am prone not to be generous. Yikes, this raises the favoritism issues from James, chapter 2…

I am so filled with sin…

Lord, continue to search and probe me. Pick beneath the surface and root out sin from my life. Please, Lord, please. I desire to serve You fully.

Open my eyes to areas in my life that need to change so that I might grow in You. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Tuesday, May 9: 1Samuel 24- Doing the right and honorable thing.

His enemy was there for the taking, delivered right into his hands, and yet David, guided by principle, refused to pounce.

What set David apart from most, and particularly many of his own men, was that he was guided by principle. He would live according to the Lord’s ways and not take the easy way out. No jury would have convicted him but David knew God would not be pleased. Even the minor infraction of cutting a piece of the robe caused David to be conscience-stricken (5).

David paid attention to the still small voice of the Lord within.

Like David I have had an impulse to do something that bends the rules set by the Lord. After takings the first few steps, acting upon the impulse, my conscience speaks up, “This is not the way of the Lord.” Do I listen?

David did. But do I?

The still small voice of the Lord is there… do I listen? The Lord is pounding this question home.

We all begin to act on impulse. The question is, ‘should we follow through’?  David crept up on Saul, maybe he had thoughts of killing him. The text does not tell us of David’s internal battle as he waited and then snuck up on Saul. Whatever his intentions we know that he cut a portion of Saul’s robe… proof he could have killed him.  Even this small act set off David’s conscience.

Most certainly David had listened to his conscience –the voice of the Lord –within him before. David has cultivated listening to the Lord.

“Have I?” comes the Lord’s voice within me again?

God is pounding me on this matter this morning…

Oh, Lord, forgive me when I have not listened. Make my muscles stronger when I do listen so that I become more and more attuned to You. This is my heart’s cry… I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Monday, May 8: 1Samuel 23- What is God saying to you.

The contrast between Saul and David cannot be greater than it is in this chapter. David constantly inquires of the Lord before taking an action whereas Saul operates based on the leading of his gut or advice of others. The text is obvious in its portrayal of David as a man seeking the Lord’s leading.

I was particularly drawn to the opening verses.

When David was told, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are looting the threshing floors,” he inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” The LORD answered him, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” But David’s men said to him, “Here in Judah we are afraid. How much more, then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!” Once again David inquired of the LORD, and the LORD answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand.” So David and his men went to Keilah, fought the Philistines and carried off their livestock. He inflicted heavy losses on the Philistines and saved the people of Keilah (1-5).

What caught my attention was that David inquired of the Lord but when he told the men they questioned him. So he went back to the Lord to make sure he heard correctly the first time. This action of David’s plays in many directions.

One, it honors the men, allowing them to be heard rather than summarily dismissed. A good leader values the people with him/her.

Second, it serves as instruction for all the men. They may or may not have known that David had inquired from the Lord the first time. The text is silent on this point. But it is also clear that they all knew David inquired of the Lord the second time. So the men saw their leader checking in with the Lord before a significant campaign. They also knew it was God directing them, not merely David’s gut.

Third, David modeled humility. Maybe I miss-heard the Lord’s response the first time, so I will ask again. And the second ‘ask’ is not out of fear or reluctance to obey as with Gideon, rather it had a specific purpose, which I mentioned in numbers 1 & 2 above.

Four, when the second word directs them to battle they go immediately. At this point the concerns of the men are no longer in view, now obedience to the Lord is paramount.

David is a great leader and, more importantly for me, a godly man and I have much I can learn by studying this faith-filled man of God.

Oh, Lord, give me a heart that is steadfast after You. One that will follow You but do so in a manner that engenders loyalty from those who are with me. Help me to be humble like David but steadfast as well. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Saturday, May 6: 1Samuel 22- Check-ins with the Lord .

I don’t always think my best when I am in crisis mode. When things are heated and pressures are bearing down I sometimes enter a reaction mode. It struck me that David, certainly in crisis mode, also wove in time to speak with and listen to the Lord.

After seeking safety for his family we read, From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, “Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?” (3).

So apparently David reacted and then checked in with the Lord.

What a practical and deeply God loving way to live.

God gives us brains, which we are to use. Cultivating regular check-ins with the Lord is brilliant, so that we maintain our connection with the Lord and if we need to make a correction to decisions we have made we can do so quickly and seamlessly.

Having my daily (for me morning) time with the Lord is a bedrock of my life.  However, David is reminding me that regular check-in with the Lord throughout the day builds my relationship with the Lord and allows me to smooth out any miss steps quickly.

Thank You, Lord God, for Your servant David, for the life he lived and the example of faithful living that he was. Help me to emulate the good in him as I continue to grow and mature in You. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Friday, May 5: 1Samuel 21- Selfishness is a large doorway to sin.

Is there ever a time when doing something unlawful is the right thing to do?

This is a difficult question; certainly motivation must be taken into account at some point. And yet, as humans we seem to have an infinite ability to justify ourselves so caution must be maintained.

In today’s account we have David fleeing for his life and taking the consecrated showbread for food. The showbread was only lawful for priests to eat. What’s more, Jesus points to this event as an example that the Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath.

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:23-28, see also Matthew 12 and Luke 6).

I have much more pondering to do on this.  However, one thing I know for certain, caution is warranted because I know my heart and my heart is bent toward selfishness. And selfishness is a large doorway to sin.

Lord, give me eyes for You, to love You and serve You with all my might and body and soul. And when I find myself in ethical dilemma lead me into Your will, which will love and neighbors. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Thursday, May 4: 1Samuel 20- Friendship.

Not every friendship is built on formal covenants. Then again, not every friendship is between rival heirs to the same throne.

Jonathan and David model friendship at its best, two men who really care for each other and will be there for each other.

I remember reading somewhere that if a person has a couple of true friends then they are lucky.

I began musing on friendship… true friendship. A true friend is someone who cares for you, the real you. They know you on a level that goes way below the surface. A true friend is someone who can look you in the eye and say anything. If they confront you on an issue you will listen because you know they want the best for you. (I get that you may not take their advice but you will receive it). A true friend may encourage you, but their encouragement will not be hollow praise to get on your good side. Instead, their encouragement will build on truth and because they want the best for you.

I have found that a real friend is someone you can talk to and someone you can be with in silence… it is not activity alone that bonds the friendship. Presence is the bond of the friendship.

As I mused on friendship, a verse of Scripture slowly began to appear in my mind. Like an old time Polaroid picture the verse took a few moments to become clear in my head.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

I have generally associated the ‘friend who sticks closer than a brother’ with Jesus. Although that may not be the precise interpretation of the text, I believe it is true.

Jesus will be for us that true friend… that friend who speaks truth and encourages honestly and relentlessly

…who is always there for us, no matter what. When we blow it, he will stick to us… speaking truth, yes, but doing so right beside us. When we have a victory he will celebrate with us and not seek to steal our joy.

…who is present with us all the time.

When Jesus called His disciples ‘friends’ (John 15:14), Jesus made a powerful statement. The same one who is Lord and God and to be worshiped, calls us ‘friend’!

Do you know the friendship of Jesus? I pray you do.

Oh, Jesus, Lord and Savior… I sit here this morning feeling blessed that You have called me friend. I pray for my family, I pray for my friends, I pray for my neighbors and acquaintances, I pray for my world that everyone would come to know the blessings of your Lordship and Your friendship. I pray in Your name, Jesus. Amen.


Wednesday, May 3: 1Samuel 19- Friendship and love.

Both Jonathan and Michal put their relationship with their father Saul aside because of their love for David. What was it about David that engendered such loyalty?

Recently I read the book Unleader by Jane Overstreet. The book compares the leadership of Saul and David. And Jane used these stories to make the case that David knew how to love and be vulnerable with people. His caring personality, she suggested, was part of what drew people to David. Where Saul remained aloof and distant David grew close to others.

Her lessons flood my thoughts as I read this chapter. Am I (are you) the kind of person others would sacrifice for?

Would people stick their neck out for you or me?

If not, what kinds of things do I need to change to grow to be that kind of person?

If yes, are there things I can do to grow better at caring for people and thus grow to be even a better friend or family member?

We have been created for relationships.  Am I growing in my ability to cultivate relationships?

Lord, half of the great commandment is ‘love your neighbor as yourself’. Guide me and lead me to become a person who loves others as You would have me love them. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.



Tuesday, May 2: 1Samuel 18- the cesspool of jealousy.

Can you be happy for friends or coworkers who succeed and are rewarded for their success?

Can you be happy for friends or coworkers who succeed and are rewarded for their success even when you are not meeting with as much success? When they are succeeding and you are not?

This is the story of Saul and David. This chapter doesn’t give us much of a look into David’s heart, but it gives us a grand and sad view of Saul’s heart, a heart wracked with jealousy.

With every success by David, Saul grew more and more jealous. Saul could not stomach that David, his subordinate, was getting more praise than he was.  Saul grew fearful for his future and his kingship.

Jealousy destroys any chance of working together, any chance of a relationship and even worse, it gnaws at one’s inside, corroding relationships. Jealousy is a cesspool that destroys life.

God drew me inside… inviting me to see if the green monster of jealousy was alive and well in my life.

I needed to look at some places in my life…

Colleagues: As a pastor, I know many other pastors. Some churches are thriving, others not so much. Am I jealous of pastors with more impressive ‘credentials’ or churches with larger budgets or staffs or congregations?  How about you? What goes on inside of you when you look at fellow coworkers who are rising on the corporate ladder faster and higher than you? Is jealousy at work??? A deep look now and then is good for the soul.

Friends & relatives: Am I jealous of friends or family who seem to have more of the ‘good life’ than I do. Am I envious of their trips or toys or families or homes or health or… 

Advertisements: do I allow advertisements to sow discontent in my life?

It is only by taking time to look inside that I can see if the green monster of envy and jealousy are eating away at my insides!

Lord, help me to be honest with myself as I look inside my life. Thank you, Lord, for this call to self-examination. I love You, Lord. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Monday, May 1: 1Samuel 17- Train yourself for battle.

The story of David and Goliath is a classic. Everyone knows this story.

I found myself wondering how desperate Saul must have been that he let an unknown young shepherd represent all Israel in a duel against a trained fighting champion.

Whatever can be said about David and his abilities or cockiness (see 32-37), the heart of the story is David’s total dependence on the Lord.

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands” (45-47)

David exhibits a dependence upon the Lord that goes beyond mere words. Clearly he has lived what he spoke. Faith in the Lord is embedded deeply in David. How and when this happened we can only guess.

David stands as an example of deep and abiding faith.  He gives us an example of how we, as Christ-followers, should stand when we confront evil and the forces of darkness in our world. However, to stand like this will not happen overnight. It must be honed and developed in one’s life.

God whispers to me…  “Train yourself for battle. Learn to trust Me in little things so that when the giants you face grow larger and larger, you will have a developed faith that will stand as David stood.”

Life will not grow easier for the Christ-follower.  Am I training myself for godliness? Am I growing my faith muscles so that they will be tried and ready when the day demands?

How about you… are you training yourself in godliness?

Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit… train me, I pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.