Saturday, June 24: 1Kings 9- Offer your WHOLE life to the Lord.

Twenty years into his reign, Solomon has a second visitation from the Lord. The Lord was certainly with Solomon. God’s message was similar to the first… stay faithful. You and your descendants stay faithful and I will be with you.

As the remainder of the chapter unfolds, it seems like Israel and Solomon were living the perfect life. Life is good. Things are going well for Solomon and for the country.

However, I have read his story many times and I know that as perfect as things may look on the surface there were problems brewing beneath the perfect exterior that will be visible in a few chapters.

I realized that we can construct wonderful facades that hide sad realities that exist underneath. How many times at funerals do we hear all the wonderful stories of the deceased but the narrative leaves out the ‘other’ parts?  How many news reports have I heard that interviewed neighbors of some major criminal and they generally say the same thing, “Johnny was a nice man?”

The Lord’s whisper reminds me that we are whole people. Our exterior life is important… doing good, observing God’s decrees and so forth. However, our interior and unseen life is important as well… We need to live faithfully here, too.

We are whole beings, not only the part we show other people, and God’s command is for us to love Him with all our heart and soul and mind and strength.

Oh, Lord God, I desire to follow You fully. Please deal with the parts of me that need changing and growth.  Lead me and guide me to fullness in You. purge out my sin and enter in to all the corners of my life. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Friday, June 23: 1Kings 8- The worship of God with His family is a precious gift.

As I read and re-read this chapter I found myself thinking about how the people must have felt during the pageantry and wonder of the Temple dedication. The ark and a tent-sanctuary had been Israel’s for centuries since their exodus from Egypt, but now they would have a temple… a permanent home for the Lord in their land. How wonderful…

Then there was Solomon’s prayer and all the sacrifices.  What an event! The writer makes a closing comment: On the following day [Solomon] sent the people away. They blessed the king and then went home, joyful and glad in heart for all the good things the LORD had done for his servant David and his people Israel (66). The bolded words caught my attention…

That, I thought, is how it should be for people as they head out after worship each and every time the family of God gathers. We leave for home joyful and glad in heart for all the good things the LORD had done…

The Lord is the same, yesterday, today and forever! (Hebrews 13:8). When Believers gather in the Lord’s name, whether in cathedral or hut, sanctuary or storefront, God is present and His glory fills our gathering… the same glory that filled the temple.

I hope and pray that you experience the Lord’s presence and power when you gather with others in His name.  I hope and pray that your hearts are joyful and glad when it is time to go home. It is for me. The worship of God with His family is a precious gift!

Oh, God, thank you for manifesting Yourself during worship. You are real and You are good.  My heart dances in joy because of Your faithfulness. Halleluiah. Amen.


Thursday, June 22: 1Kings 7- You cannot serve God and self.

The temple was a glorious house built for the Lord. The gold overlay and all the bronze items, including the massive sea, would certainly draw ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs.’ The glory Solomon was directing Godward was impressive.

However, I cannot read this chapter without noting verse 1: It took Solomon thirteen years, however, to complete the construction of his palace. What can be lost is that the final verse of chapter 6 notes that it took 7 years to build the Temple.

Yesterday I noted, “We humans build. What we build often shows our priorities and our vanities.” Absolutely Solomon was honoring the Lord greatly, but he was also honoring himself in the building of the palace. David had it in his heart to build the temple and gave Solomon the specs, but the palace was all Solomon’s. His self-aggrandizement was beginning to show.

I am back to thoughts about what I seek to build.

Building is one element of human legacy.  So as I sit with the Lord this morning, He brings me to thoughts about my legacy.  What are my dreams and hope?  More deeply, who do my dreams and hopes honor?  Do they honor me, my family or my Lord God?

David, with all his faults, deep down inside wanted to honor the Lord.  Solomon it seems had much more self-motivation inside. What about me? At my deepest self, is it the Lord or me I want to honor?  Jesus said, You cannot serve both God and mammon (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13). In a similar vein, You cannot serve both God and self.

So God is pricking and prodding my ‘hidden’ inner motives today as I sit with Him. Gentle, yet steady and firm, is the Lord’s examination!

Oh, God, send me Your results and show me Your treatment plan to make my heart more dedicated to You and less to me. I pray with John the Baptist, may You increase and I decrease… even within me! I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Wednesday, June 21: 1Kings 6- A window into my soul.

All the detail about the temple shows me how important the temple was to the life of Israel and to Solomon.

We humans build. What we build often shows our priorities and our vanities.

Solomon and Israel built for the glory of God. The magnificence of this building mirrors the greatness of their God. Nothing was too extravagant. The Lord deserved the best.

In my life what have I built? What do I dream about building? These, I suspect, are windows into my soul. What do they show me? I need to take some time to gaze into my life through this window God is showing me...

Lord, so many of my dreams are about me… my needs, my family’s needs. Is this selfishness or responsibility to care for my family?

Do I make You and Your glory a priority? Oh, God, help me unravel the complexities of myself, so that I can grow to be more fully devoted to You. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Tuesday, June 20: 1Kings 5- Cost of choosing our own way.

Israel wanted a king. Now as the splendor of the nation grows and Solomon undertakes massive building projects Israel begins to ‘pay’ the price of a king. I was amazed by the number of conscripts for the building projects:

30,000 wood cutters to work in Lebanon 1 month on and 2 months off

70,000 carriers

80,000 stone cutters

  3,300 foremen

This does not include the craftsmen who worked the raw materials into the temple and then his mansion.

Now I suspect that they were all paid something, but over 180,000 men were conscripted from their families to work these building projects. That’s a lot of households without the male.

Israel is paying a great price for her desire to have a king. And these numbers don’t include fighting men. Solomon reigns in a time of peace and prosperity but David’s time was one of war and many men died in battle.

All of this prompted me to think about the ‘costs’ of choosing our own way rather than following God’s way. I do not know how God would have established His people if a king was not appointed, but I do know that all of these costs are directly attributed to the cost of their choosing a king.

When we choose to follow our own path, there are costs, costs we would not otherwise have had to pay.

Think about this…

Lord, help me to follow Your way and to discern when my way is not Your way. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.



Monday, June 19: 1Kings 4- For God's glory.

I read the organization that Solomon set up and I thought, “He was the right man for the job.” Solomon clearly had the organizational skill to run an empire and God was the One who gave Solomon his wisdom.

This got me thinking… God gifts us for His callings! He certainly does. This has been my experience through all the twists and turns of my life.

God gifts us for His calling… I certainly have had to grow into and develop some of the gifts God has given. However, I still recognize that the gifts I have are from the Lord.

I found myself thinking about living into my God-given gifts and choosing to use the gifts God gave for His glory and honor. These are two separate aspects handling the gifts of God faithfully. I have had to grow in and develop the gifts God has given me. This takes time and attention. Additionally, I then have to choose how I will use the gifts I have been given and are developing. Solomon spread the worship of Yahweh all across the ancient Middle East.  He used the gifts God gave to extend the name and fame of the Lord throughout the earth. I, too, need to make the decision to spread God’s fame around the earth. Go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28) Jesus said. We are to spread God’s name and fame across the entire face of the earth! A daunting task, but if we all use the gifts God has given us for God’s honor and glory, then in God’s timing we will make disciples of every nation, tribe, language and tongue. Halleluiah!

Oh, Lord, help me to use my gifts for Your service. Help me, Lord, to spread Your name and fame with heart and soul and passion. Praise be to You, Lord God. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


Saturday, June 17: 1Kings 3- What would I ask for?.

What would I ask God for?

Solomon famously answered: So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (9).

If I were offered the same opportunity as Solomon, I wonder how I would have answered. Without this account to show me a better way, I think I would have asked for money or security or something like that, something that would give me a ‘better’ life.

Lord, does this show that I am more selfish than Solomon, or is it a reflection of something else?  Lord what is it You would want to give me, or desire that I ask for?

This is truly the crux of the devotional matter. What would You hope I would ask for?

Since my life trajectory is not to be king of Israel, maybe Your best for me is not wisdom to discern and the ability to govern. Maybe Your desire for me would be passion for Your Gospel or a deep desire to teach and train Your people. I’m not certain what You would desire for me. But I am certain that that it would involve Your kingdom. Jesus taught: But seek first his [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33).

Lord, I don’t have to wait for some dream from You to make this my hope and desire. I can pray for this right now and make it a regular prayer of my heart.  Lord, I pray for a deep desire to seek You and Your kingdom first all of my days. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Friday, June 16: 1Kings 2- Final words.

Not everyone gets to think through their final words, because not everyone knows when their last moment will come. David had a sense so he called his son Solomon in for some final words. His words were my pondering points this morning.

 “I am about to go the way of all the earth. So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go and that the LORD may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel’… (2-4).

David’s words continue with some kingly advice about how to solidify Solomon’s reign and close out some unfinished business from David’s reign. But first and foremost David instructed Solomon in the way of the Lord, one final word to spur his son toward truth and faith.

I love this foundational line: be strong, act like a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires.

The calendar tells me that in two days is Father’s Day… what a perfect word for fathers and all men… be strong, act like a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires

Be strong… God had given us men different bodies than women. Be strong, use what God has given you… your physical, mental and internal fortitude strongly! That is part of what it means to be a man! What do we do with this strength?  Observe what the Lord requires! It is not about making wealth or building lands or companies. Oh, that may come and be part of God’s plan for you, BUT first and foremost, it is to observe the laws and ways of God! God has given you strength to do just that. Faith is not a sissy matter. It takes strength and fortitude to stand against the devil and the cries of the human heart to go this way and that, anyway but God’s way. Use your strength to say first things first! God comes first… for me and for my family!

This is the strong word of the Lord that is filling my heart this morning…

Oh, God, may I love so… FOR YOU! Amen.


Thursday, June 15: 1Kings 1- Transfer of power.

My thoughts ranged far and wide from the text today. The text became more of a springboard, rather than a foundation as I sat with the Lord.

My thoughts quickly jumped to the transfer of power. Israel was a mess as David’s time was winding down. There was no tradition, no understood way to transfer power from an aging king to his successor.

When there is a vacuum of power, people step in.

Disregarding the king’s spoken intention that Bathsheba’s son Solomon was to be David’s successor-king, Adonijah, the eldest of the king’s living sons, stepped in through a conspiracy with key officials to anoint himself king. This traitorous act forces David’s hand and Solomon is quickly anointed king and is seated on the king’s throne. What a mess…

Where my thoughts and prayers went was to my own country. With all our gifts and faults, one major blessing is the smooth transfer of power. The last 2-3 US Presidential elections has seen our country grow progressively more divided and still the transfer of power has been handled smoothly. For this is am grateful, especially seeing the issues that chaotic power transfers cause, and I am drawn to prayer for my and other countries in the world.  When governments are in disarray, it is the people who suffer.

Oh, Lord, thank You for my country and the rule of law so firmly established in it. I am thankful for the founders who established a workable structure and for a country that follows it. I pray for those in national, state and local governmental leadership… give them grace to lead honorably and well. Thank you that power transfer is smooth. It is a great blessing to us as a nation.

Lord, I pray for my world, that leaders everywhere would be honorable men and women who seek wisdom and act with integrity in their leadership. No matter the governmental structure, protect the common person from the ravages of chaotic leadership change. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Wednesday, June 14: 2Samuel 24- Owning my sin.


This is a strange account… with some hard to process thoughts.

I choose to ponder this chapter through the eyes of David. From somewhere deep within, David allows sin to blossom and against all advice he counts his fighting men. After the deed is done –it takes over nine months, inferring that David let the sin fester and linger for a loooong time –he is conscience stricken and begs God for mercy.

This shows me it is never too late to seek the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy. As long as we have breath we have an opportunity for mercy. The Lord never closes someone off from His love. But neither will He compel us, but when we turn for home, God comes a running…

The Lord grants David’s desire and offers him a choice of punishment. David throws himself directly upon the Lord... a sinner in the hands of a merciful God.

As God’s plague approached Jerusalem, the Lord opens David’s eyes to see what is happening and the weight of his sin drives him to even deeper confession…

When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to the LORD, “I have sinned; I, the shepherd, have done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Let your hand fall on me and my family” (17). Here is a heart truly broken. Here is a man in the hand of the Lord.

I don’t know if I have ever seen my sin as clearly as David saw his that day. I don’t know if I have ever faced the deep and dire consequences of my sins as David did that day. I don’t know if I have ever sinned with such corporate consequence as David did that day. I also wonder if I have ever owned my sin as honestly as David did that day…

Lord, I don’t want to face an ordeal like David did. I am not a world leader or a leader of Your people as David was. Nonetheless, I am sorry for my sins and the pain I have cause You and others in my life. Unlike David, I praise You, Jesus, for taking the weight of my sin and guilt on Your back. I am free because You, Jesus, took my place and my guilt and my pain.

Oh, Oh Praise You, Jesus, My savior. Amen.


Tuesday, June 13: 2Samuel 23- Who surrounds you?.

A few thoughts struck me as I was reading the listing and exploits of David’s mighty men.

First, that David had these key men.  Many, or at least most, leaders have their key subordinates, people who serve alongside for years, companions who play important roles. Possibly their most important role is that they will do everything they can in order to see the leader succeed. A side kick, a co-laborer, a rear-guard, someone(s) on whom the leader can absolutely depend. Sometimes these others share the limelight and sometimes not. They are not rivals for power or honor; they are trusted people who play unique roles depending upon the particulars of their relationship. David, as warrior king, had 37 he trusted and battled alongside. They were absolutely committed to David’s success.

This causes me to wonder if I have certain someones, or if I might be a key man to someone else???

Second, Joab was not listed among the valiant 37. I don’t know what that means and I don’t want to read too much into this. However, I pondered… though a capable commander, was Joab not trusted by David? Did Joab exhibit some self-honoring traits David didn’t want too close?

It caused me to think sometimes a leader has leaders alongside but for some reason they just don’t enter that place of inner confidence. Such is life and relationships…

Third, Uriah, the Hitite, was one of the 30. This makes David’s sin of adultery with Uriah’s wife and murder of Uriah all the more hideous. Uriah had proven to be one of David’s most valiant and trusted warriors, still David sinned so greatly against him, even killing him!

This third thought frightens me because it shows me just how wicked the human heart can be. David, a great leader and deeply devoted follower of the Lord, stooped so low during the Uriah/Bathsheba incident. How we humans can justify the worst of sins!! This frightens me because if David could fall this hard, any of us could fall this hard!

Oh, God, keep me close to You. Fence me in from my own possibly of deep, deep sin. Sin is inevitable I know that. I do not say this to give myself an easy way out, but it is reality. But Oh, Lord, keep me from deep, deep sin. Sin like David committed against Uriah… which he committed against You.

Prune my life to protect and hone me. Fertilize my life with Your Holy Spirit so that it grows strong in YOU!

Oh, Father, I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Monday, June 12: 2Samuel 22- A key to true life.

More than any one specific line of this psalm, it was the entirety that spoke to me in the quiet of my morning. David, king of Israel, in spite of his personal glories and after terrible heartache, takes time to pen praise to his Lord.

What world leader today would take time out of his/her busy schedule to pen a psalm to the Lord? And we know David did this often, given the number of psalms in the Psalter bearing his name.

What Corporate CEO pauses to express her/his delight in the Lord?

David, king of a world power and leader of the military, takes time to let his heart sing to the Lord…

Do I do this? Far too many pastors are so busy that in their press for time they allow their professional sermon or Bible study prep to double as their personal time with the Lord.

David is an excellent example of a man, a busy man, who maintained a life-giving relationship with the Lord through thick and thin. And this, it seems to me, is the key to true life…

Oh, Lord, to sit with You… to speak with You… to be with You is my delight. May this always be so. I pray through Jesus, my Savior. Amen.


Saturday, June 10: 2Samuel 21- Age changes perspective.

Ten years ago I don’t think my heart would have lighted to the passage that jumped off the page to me this morning. Age changes perspective.

Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted. And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David. But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, saying, “Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished” (15-17).

Earlier in his life, David elected not to go out to war as kings do and it opened a door for sin. Now things have changed. David is older and he is no longer the warrior he used to be. Age is catching up with him. When battle almost costs David his life, his men say, “No More! NO longer will God’s anointed go to battle with us!” And David listens; his fighting days are over at least during the heat of battle.

It struck me that David trusted the counsel of his men and they could see what he was not willing to see. Still he listened and his kingdom was preserved because David was alive to rule.

A question grew inside of me, “Do I have someone(s) who can tell me when my skills are diminishing and it is time to hang up certain aspects of my life?”

Driving a car is a universal issue for aging people. Giving up one’s license is a BIG deal; it signals numerous changes and a loss of freedom and independence. Will you listen when the time come to give up your license? Will I? Have I cultivated relationships with people who can say to me, ‘it is time,’ without feeling like they might have to forfeit our relationship to do so?

David was man enough to understand life was changing…

Oh, God, I pray I will be such a man as well. I pray this in Jesus’name. Amen.


Friday, June 9: 2Samuel 20- tough people, tough times.

Joab is the anti-David. Where David is God fearing, humble and gracious, Joab is self-serving, violent and conniving.

Joab again strikes down an unsuspecting rival. Murderous. I wonder why David keeps Joab around.  Maybe his ruthlessness makes him a good warrior? I just don’t know.

Thinking about Joab and David makes me think how one needs to be able to get along with people who are very different. In many ways David trusted Joab particularly as a warrior, but David was never influenced by Joab to cheat or skimp on his personal integrity. David could employ Joab without succumbing to Joab’s low standards.

I still don’t quite get how they worked together for so long, but they did. Joab’s bad traits never transferred to David. Sadly, David’s good traits never transferred to Joab either. There are no guarantees when it comes to relationships that we can influence others for good.

I found myself musing about people I have had to work with who are very different than myself. There certainly were some trying times…

Thankfully the Lord saw me through…

Praise be to the Lord, who is with me (us) in all life’s situations. He strengthens me during tough times and by His grace I grew during those difficult times. Truth is I probably grew more during tough days that golden ones.

Lord, Thank You for Your presence, Your guiding voice within. Thank You that by listening to You I have avoided some major disasters.  Lord, when I blow it, You have always been there to pick of the pieces, forgive me and set me back on the right path again. Praise to You, Lord God. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


Thursday, June 8: 2Samuel 19- Listening to advice.

Joab is a mixed bag. On the one hand he is, and has been, a loyal and able fighter, leader and confidant for the king for years, probably decades. On the other, he is a hot head with a violent murderous streak. More than once David has had to distinguish himself from some of Joab’s killings.

In today’s reading, Joab has the pulse of the fighting men and likely saves David’s kingdom with his strong and pointed advice (1-8).

David is consumed with guilt over Absalom’s death. His guilt and mourning has blinded him and he is making bad decisions. As a result his men, who just saved David’s life, are sulking away feeling ashamed. Joab gets in David’s face and rebukes him and gives him perspective. David immediately changes and acts as Joab directs and his men begin to rally around David once again.

Can I take advice from others? Will I consider comments and feedback from others, and like David, even from others who have a mixed track record, others I don’t necessarily fully respect? David did.

David had the uncanny ability to realize and receive good advice. Some leaders take the ‘my way or the highway’ approach, advisors are ‘yes’ voices who don’t provide honest feedback and reflection.

David was not like that. His ability to accept good advice was one of his great attributes as a leader and he did so while maintaining his integrity and without compromising his authority.

When someone has a bone to pick with me or a criticism of me or something I did or a position I hold, can I hear truth in the comments even if much of what is spoken to me is from a heart that may not be seeking my best?

David had to lay aside much, regarding Joab, in order to hear the wise word he was speaking this day. Can I do that???

I don’t know…

I don’t know, Lord. Can I? Am I man enough to admit when I am wrong, even when an ‘enemy’ points this out?

Oh, Lord, maturity is needed in so many aspects of life… spiritual understanding, personal living, interpersonal interactions and the use of the tongue.

Lord, I pray that I am open to wisdom, which is ultimately from You, no matter the source through which You send it. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Wednesday, June 7: 2Samuel 18- Questions and wonderings.

A number of thoughts hit me during my reading. Let’s see where the Lord takes me.

David submitted to the wisdom of his men about NOT riding out with the troops. His men were right, David was worth 10,0000 soldiers. The death of David would mean victory for Absalom.

One of Absalom’s vanities was his undoing. His hair, glorious and full, was a cause for his death. It seems that there is a message in that statement. How often are our vanities our downfall? Those things about self or life, and not the Lord, that we prize become the hole that swallows us up.

I also wondered why Absalom was fighting without armor bearers or others alongside. Why was he alone? Was he arrogant? Did he get lost in the forest, which were the downfall of so many (8)?  David would never have been alone in battle.

I was amazed that so many fled with and rallied around David that he had to appoint leaders of hundreds and thousands (1). Oh, the love people had for David.

I wondered how David could have so much feeling for Absalom that he gave the orders to go easy with him. Absalom had killed a brother and usurped the throne. Did David have a blind spot for the evil aspects of Absalom? Was he forgiving? I wondered what drove David in this.

This morning my thoughts are filled with wonderings. Sometimes when I spend time in the Word, answers are not readily apparent and questions and wondering remain. Still God meets me. God fills me. God is present with me as I spend time in His Word. God’s ways are higher than my ways so I cannot expect to always understand fully…

Still I love the Lord. Still I keep coming back to His Word for truth and direction and presence. I always find the Lord in His Word, just not always the ways I will expect to find Him.

Oh. Lord, thank You for the treasure of Your Word. Thank You for the treasure of men and women who have followed You, whose life and stories are in Your world. Thank You that those women and men were real people with strengths and weaknesses, people from whom I can learn. People who teach me about a life devoted to You. I love You, Lord. Walk with me today in my questions and in my answers. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Tuesday, June 6: 2Samuel 17- What do I need to engender loyalty?.

The silent hand behind this account is the Lord, who is answering David’s prayer to frustrate the plans of Ahithophel. Absalom’s uprising is part of God’s judgment upon David for his Bathsheba-sin, but God never removed His hand from David.  So today’s story is also an account of God working His will in the life of David. God can and does regularly work many angles at one time.

Even more than the silent hand of God working throughout this story I was struck by how many people were willing to risk their lives for David. Hushai, who schemed to thwart Ahithophel’s advice, along with the priests Zadok and Abiathar and their two sons who risked their lives to tell David the plans of Absalom.  Then there was the woman who hid the priests’ sons as they were escaping from Jerusalem to go to David. Each of these people, and likely others, put their lives in mortal danger to help David.

What respect, love and devotion David garnered from people around him. He must have been quite the leader and man of God to cultivate such loyalty.

I wondered if my character was such that I would engender even half the loyalty, love and devotion David did.

What elements of my character do I need to be developing to be a man like David? Such were my thoughts this morning in God’s Word…

Create in me, Oh God, a man of character, a man of love and a man of devotion to You. May my life shine reflecting You in my life, like the moon reflects the light of the sun. May my life point others to You, Jesus, Lord, and giver of life. In Your name, I pray. Amen.


Monday, June 5: 2Samuel 16- Allowing God time to build our character.

I am amazed how humble David is. He knew God had anointed him. He certainly could have entered this episode with a puffed out chest and a touch of arrogance. But not David…

When Shemei verbally attacked David, David took the tongue lashing insults and pelting with rocks with grace, answering those who wanted to harm Shemei strongly. But the king said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’ ” David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today” (10-12).

David gave this answer in the midst of duress fleeing for his life.

When we are under pressure (tired or sick), those are times when we often do not operate to the best of our character. However, David is showing extraordinary grace and humility. This speaks to me all the more loudly that David is a man after God’s own heart.

How does a person grow a heart so faithful and strong? I wish there were some quick 3 step plan to faithfulness. But there isn’t. It grows as the result of years of faith-filled living.

David had been faithful in little… shepherding his father’s flocks.

David had been faithful with much… his years as king in Hebron and now Jerusalem.

David had been faithful in maintaining his connection with the Lord… writing psalms and praising the Lord with lyre and song.

David had remained faithful even after sin… seeking forgiveness and accepting the Lord’s rebuke.

Over the years his heart grew strong… so in this time of duress the character God had formed in him came out.  The character God had formed in David was now David’s baseline character.

If I want to be a man of godly character then I, too, must be faithful in all seasons, allowing the Lord to work in my life and transform my heart into one that mimics His in good times and in troubled times…

Lord, continue to form me… work on me so that I grow to be a man after Your own heart. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Saturday, June 3: 2Samuel 15- Bullet prayers.

Well, David’s kingship certainly hit a snag. His son Absalom planned and executed a coup. Now David was forced to flee for his life, and as he was running he had to make a critical decision.

David, a man of action and wisdom, thrived in these situations. His strategic mind was at work, but so was his heart and his listening ear was attuned to the Lord. David was open to whatever the Lord chose to bring about from this incident. He laid no claims upon God but trusted in the Lord’s will. Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the LORD’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again. But if he says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him”(25-26).

David also employed what I shall term ‘targeted prayer.’  We have only one reference to prayer; it was pointed and specific. Now David had been told, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” So David prayed, “LORD, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness” (31).

There is, it seems to me, a lesson in David’s prayer. When possible be direct and be specific in prayer. Prayers need not be long; short and direct are just as meaningful and effective. Six words was the extent of David’s prayer. But it was a powerful from a strategic point of view. If David was to survive this coup then the wisdom of Ahithopel needed to be corrupted. So David targeted his prayer.

There are times, like when running for one’s life, when we cannot linger in prayer. Hours on one’s knees are simply not possible. Heartfelt direct prayer keeps us connected, expresses our heart’s desire, even as we run for our lives. David modeled this.

As I wind down this morning, I am realizing that prayer takes many forms. There is a place for ‘bullet prayers’ even as there is a time for ‘soaking in the presence of the Lord’ prayers…

Oh, Lord, allow me the grace of both seasons of prayer. Those quick prayers when time doesn't allow for more and more extended periods when I can soak in Your presence and have a conversation with You. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Friday, June 2: 2Samuel 14- Speaking truthfully.

All I kept thinking about was deception. How much of life is filled with deception. People telling half-truths or all out lies to get their way. People thinking they know what is best for someone else so they manipulate the situation to get a person to act. Case in point was Joab who resorted to a rouse to get the king to bring his son back.

Paul counsels the Ephesians to put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body (Ephesians 4:25). How many interpersonal problems would be avoided if we could live up to Paul’s counsel?

How truthful are you with your circle of friends, coworkers and neighbors? How truthful am I?

My thoughts for today…

Lord, I surrender my tongue to You. Purge wickedness from my lips.  I pray through Jesus, my Lord’s name. Amen.


Thursday, June 1: 2Samuel 13- Nothing good comes from sweeping sin under the rug.

The Lord promised that calamity would not depart David’s family due to his treachery with Bathsheba… “This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel’ ” (2 Samuel 12:11-12).

Today we read the beginning of God’s fulfillment of His Word to David.

David is faithful but he is not perfect. David chose not to deal with Amnon’s rape of his sister. His inaction gave Absalom time to brood and scheme.

Nothing good comes from sweeping sin under the rug. Nothing.

As I typed in the last thought, God jolted me. “Bill, here is your meditation moment for the morning.”

Nothing good comes from sweeping sin under the rug. Nothing.

This is true personally and in family or other systems. Sin unchecked, unrepented sin grows, whether under the surface or on top of the surface, sin grows.

Repentance and confession –“Roundup” for the soul –is needed. We have to admit and confess our sin and turn from it, only this can kill it from the root.

Oh, God, help me to face me… the true me… the sin-filled me and to bring my sin to You in confession and repentance. Oh, God, help me to bring all the systems I am a part of to You in confession and repentance.  That You will root out the sin and replace it with godliness and grace. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.