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Posts tagged ‘Books of Samuel’

Lord of the Breakthrough.


So they came up to Baal-perazim; and David smote them there. Then David said, God hath broken in upon mine enemies by mine hand like the breaking forth of waters: therefore they called the name of that place Baal-perazim. 1 Chronicles 14:11

Baal-perazim literally means, “Lord of the breakthrough.” Because David sought God’s direction first (v. 10), he knew it was God’s victory. David acknowledged God as the One who brought about his victory. He said, “I couldn’t have done it if God had not gone before me.”

There will be many battles to fight this year, but realize that you are not standing alone. The God you serve is the Master of the breach, and the battle is not yours, but His. When you seek God first in the matter, you can be assured of the victory.

The battle belongs to the Lord (1 Samuel 17:47). So, never defend yourself. Let Him be your strong tower, your defense, and your refuge. Why are you trying to fight battles He has already won? Put on His armor and go forth in His Spirit, not your own might and power (Zechariah 4:6).

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Every time you resist temptation, you will see the devil flee from you this year. So give God the glory.

Lord, grant me the boldness to resist temptation
at every turn. I know You have given me victory
over the devil. So I praise Your name for
defeating the devil on the cross and
giving me the power through Your
blood to breakthrough sin and
live victoriously. Amen.

By ROD PARSLEY.

How to Conquer Discouragement.


Felicia Alvarez

“I have a tough life,” my five-year-old cousin said.

“Really? Why is that?” I asked.

Folding his arms, he looked up at me with his big blue eyes as he rattled off his complaints. “Well, I get spankings, I get time out, and I have to clean my room!”

I couldn’t help bursting out in laughter. In return, he just looked at me quizzically as if silently asking, “Why are you laughing? I’m serious!”

After regaining my composure, I shook my head and said, “I don’t think that’s too terrible, buddy. I think you’re gonna be okay.”

Later that day my cousin’s complaint made me wonder: How often does God smile down at usand say, “Everything is going to be all right, my child”?

In our fallen world, we’re constantly bombarded with situations that tempt us to complain about how tough our lives are. Sometimes our troubles are miniscule (like traffic or a cranky boss), but other times they are genuinely difficult and can be quite discouraging (like an abusive spouse or a dying loved one). Our worries can weigh us down and cloud our perspective, causing us to forget:

  • that, since we are citizens of heaven, our problems on earth are only for a season (Philippians 3:20).
  • that God works out everything—even tough situations—for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
  • that we can trust God with our lives (Psalm 55:22).

When trouble hits, we tend to see only challenges. So, how can we get a fresh perspective on life when discouragement is weighing us down?

Here are a few things that have helped me:

1) Determine if the cause of discouragement is worth being discouraged about. First, I ask myself: Am I upset about something important or something trivial? Often a long line at the supermarket or a rude stranger can put a damper on the entire day. But are those worth being upset about?

2) Determine if the loss is imagined or real. Frequently I’m only upset because of my own “what if…” thoughts: What if she thinks this? What if they do that? What if I don’t do well? What if they don’t like it? 

When “what ifs” or imagined thoughts weigh you down, ask God to help you take those thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). Choose instead to dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

3) Talk to the right people about the problem. In 1 Samuel we find the story of Hannah, a woman deeply grieved because she was unable to have children. In her sorrow, Hannah cried out to the Lord for comfort. She went to the temple year after year to pray, and the Lord heard her prayers and opened her womb. Her story is an excellent reminder that we should, first of all, talk to God about our sorrows. “Cast all your anxieties upon Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

We can also dialog with encouraging Christians who will speak God’s truth into our lives. However, we need to be careful when selecting these confidants. Discussing the matter with those unable to provide wise advice doesn’t help us. It may even deepen our discouragement or spread it to others.

4) Dive into the Word. God’s truth is the best defense against Satan’s schemes. Several years ago I had two stress fractures which kept me from being active. It put my hobbies—and career—on the line. Needless to say, I was very discouraged. But during that time I dove into the Bible and, in the depths of my sadness, He spoke to me in deeper ways than I had ever experienced. The trial didn’t disappear, but God’s Scriptures lifted me out of the valley of discouragement. It empowered me to endure the trial with contentment and peace instead of depression and bitterness. Sometimes our lows in life are what bring us closest to God. Don’t miss the opportunity by pushing away from God; run to the open pages of the Word!

5) Pour into others. I once heard someone say that it’s better to live life giving away than pulling away. Giving to those in need reminds us of what we have to be thankful for. So, visit a lonely person. Help an elderly neighbor with their yard work. Write a letter to someone who needs cheering up. Are there children at your church that need a mentor? Take the opportunity to disciple them and point them to the Lord. The more you serve, the more you’ll find that your perspective change from gloominess to thankfulness.

6) Rest in the Lord. Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.” During an extremely difficult situation in the life of Christian author and pastor, Andrew Murray, he eloquently penned:

“First, He brought me here; it is by His will I am in this strait place: in that fact I will rest.
Next, He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace to behave as His child.
Then, he will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.
Last, in His good time He can bring me out again—how and when He knows.

Let me say I am here,

1) by God’s appointment
2) in His keeping
3) under His training
4) for His time” 

No matter what your trial, God will see you through it. “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8).

Felicia Alvarez lives in Southern California and loves avocados, sunshine, and serving her Savior. Currently, she teaches dance to over one hundred students and is working on her second book. Connect with Felicia on her blog or Facebook—she would love to hear from you.

Publication date: October 22, 2013

How to Move in God’s Anointing.


(© boogy_man/rgbstock.com)

I know a man in ministry who used to be a missionary to the Pygmy tribes in Dutch New Guinea. After preaching one night through his interpreter, he decided to conduct a healing line. When he noticed the first man in line had a fungus from head to toe, he changed his mind. In that part of the jungle that particular fungus was highly contagious. So the missionary went back to his tent.

After two hours, he looked out. No one had moved. They were all still waiting in the healing line. Feeling chastened by the Lord (a divine unction), he decided to go and minister to the people and just believe God. As he approached the “fungus” man, he used his two pointing fingers only to barely touch the sides of the man’s head where there was the least fungus. Then the anointing kicked in. When he touched him, the fungus man leaped onto him and held him: His legs wrapped around his waist and his arms wrapped around his neck.

The missionary described the man as having fungus in his eyes, in his mouth and all over his body. However, when the power of God touched him through that missionary, praise God, the man was instantly healed.

Obedience is the key for functioning in the anointing. It was the final factor that led through the final downfall of King Saul. In 1 Samuel 13:8-15 Saul became impatient and took it upon himself to make a sacrifice rather than wait for Samuel to arrive. Some of Saul’s men had already begun to defect. When Samuel arrived, Saul said, in his own defense, that he “felt compelled” to do what he did (v. 12, emphasis added). That is the negative side of an “unction to function”—doing what seems right to you without the anointing. Samuel rebuked Saul, telling him that he had acted foolishly and had not kept the commandment of the Lord.

Listen: The main rule for having authority is also to be under authority yourself, and that starts with being obedient to the Lord.

Even Jesus remarked that He had not found such great faith in Israel when he encountered the centurion in Matthew 8. When Jesus told him that He would come and heal his servant, the centurion humbly said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.”

He continued, “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (vv. 8-9). Now that is true picture of meekness, a gentle humility that demonstrates power under control.

Going back to Saul, the final blow came when he disobeyed the word of the Lord spoken through Samuel to utterly destroy the Amalekites (1 Sam. 15:1-3). Saul was instructed to attack King Agag and the Amalekites and not spare anything alive: “Kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey” (v. 3). But Saul spared the best the Amalekites had, including the king himself. He then told Samuel “the people” had saved the animals to sacrifice (vv. 9, 13-15). In rebuke, Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” (vv. 22-23). That very day the Lord tore the kingdom of Israel away from Sauk (v. 28).

Friend, the unction to function in the anointing of God works within the framework of obedience.God is more interested in our character than our comfort. He is raising up a generation that will do what He says in the correct way, which will achieve His objective and bring glory to Him—not build up our own egos.

In these last days we must be people and ministers of integrity, honesty and humility. We must go beyond just knowing the principles of the kingdom; we must also know the King—His will, His ways, His very heartbeat.  And again, this is possible because we have “an unction from the Holy One, as ye know all things” (1 John 2:20, KJV, emphasis added). The Lord Himself enables us to possess knowledge of the truth, because He is the living Word.

Daniel 11:32 declares, “The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits” (NKJV). So let’s function in the anointing with the right spirit and with power from on high: “God’s X Factor,” the unction to function that moves us to obey Him and release a might anointing in the earth.

Never forget: You are anointed to flow in special abilities that have been tailor-made for you by the same God who does the work in all of us. You can obey God and move in the anointing, whether you are laboring alone or working together with your brothers and sisters in Christ. You can hear, obey, and flow in the anointing of God—fearlessly, favorably and fiercely. You are anointed for this!

Adapted from You Are Anointed for This! By Judy Jacobs, copyright 2013, published by Charisma House. God wants to do extraordinary things through you. Whatever gift you have, and wherever God has called you, you need to know that you are anointed for it!  This book will help you recognize and declare it.

To order your copy click here.

PRAYER POWER FOR THE WEEK OF 10/14/2013  

This week thank God for His anointing. Ask Him for increase and for more opportunities to flow in His anointing in your daily life. Allow your love for Him to prompt you to total obedience so that you can flow in your “unction to function” without hindrance, Continue to pray for Israel, and for revival to ignite our nation, produce a harvest of souls and bring us back to God’s righteous ways. Pray for unity in prayer and purpose in the Body of Christ. Ask God to send a spirit of repentance to His church that will spread across the land and birth revival. 2 Chron 7:14; 1 John2:20; 1 Thes. 5:17.

{ Day 276 }.


David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him. … But David found strength in the Lord his God. Then David … inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.” 1 Samuel 30:6-8

Ziklag‘s destruction was an agonizing tragedy for David and his men. But David did the right thing. As a result, we know what to do when our Ziklag is burned and compromise is no longer an option. When everything was falling apart, David returned to his root system and “found strength in the Lord his God.” He went to the Lord and said, “Lord, I am Yours. I love You, and I know You love me. Help me, Lord.” One of the greatest miracles that can happen in the life of a discouraged believer is knowing the Lord’s mercy and delight so deeply that we run toward Him in our time of greatest sin. Have you awakened one morning and realized you were living in a place of compromise? David knew what God was like, so he confidently approached the Lord instead of slinking away in shame. This led to his complete recovery. If you run away from God instead of to Him in time of crisis, you can’t be restored, but the complete solution will be found when you run to Him.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, when everything around me is falling apart, cause me to do as David did and “strengthen myself in the Lord.” Give me Your miraculous grace and mercy, and help me to run to You instead of away from You.

Have you watched God burn your Ziklag—
your place of disobedience?

By MIKE BICKLE.

{ Day 275 }.


David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites … attacked Ziklag and burned it, and had taken captive the women and all who were in it, both young and old. … When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 1 Samuel 30:1-4

For sixteen months, David’s Ziklag strategy seemed to be working, but God was about to kick the props out from under him. One day, David and his men came home and saw their city burned to the ground. God allowed Ziklag to burn so David would come face-to-face with Him. It was this very trauma that caused David to return to God and depart this period of disobedience. Each of us, I daresay, has a city of compromise, a Ziklag to which we retreat at some point in our lives. Our Ziklag is a place of supposed refuge that empowers us to continue in disobedience. It’s the place where we devise little systems that give us sinful pleasure and false comfort when God’s will becomes too intense for us. The Lord does not reject us during these times, but He doesn’t approve of our sin, either. He looks for ways to restore us, not destroy us. He devises means so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him (2 Sam. 14:14). But He almost always allows our city of compromise to be burned.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Teach me, Father, to turn to You before my disobedience destroys my hopes and dreams. When I fall to compromise and apathy, find me and restore me to Your presence. Bring me face-to-face again with You.

Our Ziklag is like a cubbyhole where we escape
from the realm of God’s promises and retreat
into the enemy’s territory where we feel safer.

By MIKE BICKLE.

How to Be Miserable: And How to Cheer Up!.


Julie Barrier

Solomon was an A-lister. He made the Hollywood pantheon of gorgeous billionaire gods and goddesses with front-page cover fame look like losers. The Israeli monarch possessed wealth, women, wisdom and fame. Yet he was absolutely miserable. Why? Solomon means “shalom,” peace. In 2 Samuel 12: 25, Nathan gave Solomon another name, Jedidiah, or “loved by God.”

 

 

Ecclesiastes reveals the naked truth. The ruler was filthy rich and uber-powerful. Everything was gold-plated. He was smarter than Einstein. And he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. The lusty king had 1,000 one-night stands and never felt guilty about jilting the women in his life. He just sent them back to his burgeoning harem. So why was he so sad? What went so horribly wrong?

I’ll ask you the same question.

Are you miserable, disgruntled, discontent or just plain crabby? Solomon’s initial words in Ecclesiastes will cause you to grow gloomy, desperate, even suicidal. But, believe it or not, the most depressing book in the Bible (other than Job!) can teach you how to be truly happy.

Ecclesiastes 9:2-3, the jaded ruler laments:

“Anything’s possible. It’s one fate for everybody—righteous and wicked, good people, bad people, the nice and the nasty, worshipers and non-worshipers, committed and uncommitted. I find this outrageous—the worst thing about living on this earth—that everyone’s lumped together in one fate. Is it any wonder that so many people are obsessed with evil? Is it any wonder that people go crazy right and left? Life leads to death. That’s it. Their loves, their hates, yes, even their dreams, are long gone.” The Message

Bummer. I feel worse already.

Pubmedhealth.com states that brain chemistry or genetic predisposition can trigger depression. Long-term pain, sleeping problems, certain types of cancer, steroids and under-active thyroid can trigger a downward mood swing. Stressful life events such as abuse, neglect, broken relationships, failure, job loss, long-tem family illness, chronic pain and social isolation are just a few reasons people spiral downward.

Solomon the sage gave us two key verses that can help us claw our way out of the pit of despair to the highlands of peace and joy. They’re really quite simple.

Ecclesiastes 11:8: “However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all.”

Ecclesiastes 12:1 “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth.”

1. Enjoy your life.

Dr. David Ferguson taught me a great lesson about delightful, abundant life. (John 10:10). Abundant life can only be lived in the present. If you are bound up with guilt from the past or paralyzed with fear from of the future, you will never find fun in the moment. I have a daughter who is seriously, chronically ill. If I don’t revel in the moments with her, cherishing her love, her little girls and the kindred spirit that we share, I lose everything. I borrow trouble for the future, dreading the worst. I get angry with God and it shakes my faith. And I ruin my health by living in the misery of “what if’s.”

I must enjoy each moment-savoring them, treasuring each one. That is where I experience God’s presence, grace and power.

2. Remember your Creator.

Solomon’s second secret is a doozy. When Jesus was talking to the Ephesians in Revelation chapter three, He told them to remember their first Love. Do you remember when you met Jesus? He wasn’t just an ideology, He was the very real Friend who laid down His life for you. Simply remembering how much Jesus loves you, protects you, plans your every moment can change you.

I love my husband Roger. We’ve been married a long time. I delight in how he calls me  “Muffin” when I feel like “Pumpkin.” I remember how he read the Bible to me over the phone when we were dating. I remember the way he gazed into my eyes and took me in his arms to kiss me for the first time. (This was no small task since I am very short. Smooching usually involved a porch step.) His love for me has never wavered.

You see, remembering how much he loves me makes me look forward to waking up in the morning, just to see his face.

When I remember God, I remember our adventures together. I’ve journeyed through devastating valleys and ecstatic mountaintops with Him. I’m watching my beloved parents die…ever so slowly as they become more elderly. But as I feel sadness overwhelm me, I remember holding my first daughter in my arms when she breathed her last breath. I recall how God’s grace was enough during those horrific months as a young mother. Reminders of my kind Savior brings me joy in my not so pleasant present.

Roger and I sat in our driveway today after church. For the first time, we were brutally honest about the hurts and losses in our lives. And the power and glory of God poured into the front seat. We counted His blessings. Wow. What a list! God also reminded us of an old sermon illustration from one of Roger’s “sugar sticks” (greatest hits in the sermon department). Pastor Charles Spurgeon was once asked if he were dragged to the village square to be martyred for Christ tomorrow at noon, would he have the strength to stand strong? He said, “No.” “But tomorrow at noon I will…” We can enjoy today because there is grace for tomorrow.

That, my friends, was Solomon’s secret. Enjoy and remember. Try it. You’ll like it.

The Forever King: Seeing Jesus in 2 Samuel.


I thought about buying up a bunch of stamps a while ago before the postal rates were set to increase, and I should have done it. The beauty of Forever stamps is that you buy them at the current rate for mailing a first-class letter and they are supposed to be good for mailing a first-class letter forever, no matter how much the price of a first-class stamp increases. But the truth is, I hardly ever mail first-class letters anymore. Most of my communication with people is via e-mail or telephone or cell phone, and I pay most of my bills online. And evidently I’m not alone. Reports are that the US Postal Service is on the brink of bankruptcy. And if that’s the case, maybe their promise of “forever” is really not all that reliable.

Speaking of forever, we’ve all heard the famous line “A diamond is forever.” But is it true? Evidently, for the last twenty-five years a team of scientists have been trying to find out. At a site in central Japan, scientists have been monitoring a huge underground water-filled tank, waiting patiently for signs that all matter eventually decays into sub-atomic dust. Evidently, most theorists believe it will show that protons—the building blocks of every atom—do not last forever but decay into other particles. That would mean nothing made from atoms—not even diamonds—lasts forever.1

The Bible, however, talks about some things that do last forever.

“The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever” (Psalm 136). Forever the Lord will love his own.

“His righteousness endures forever” (Ps. 111:3). Forever God will be doing what is right.

“The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever” (Ps. 117:2). Forever God will do what he has promised to do and be who has promised to be.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isa. 40:8). Forever God’s Word will have the power to accomplish what it intends. Forever it will prove true.

The apostle John wrote: “The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17). Evidently God intends to share his “foreverness” with those who find their life under his loving rule now. Does this kind of forever sound good to you? Let’s face it; most of us have had experiences that felt like forever that we don’t particularly want to experience again. So before we buy into this forever being offered to us, we want to know what we can expect.

Over three thousand years ago, God put a king on the throne in his city to rule over his people as his representative. The king who sat on this throne was never supposed to be a king like other kings in this world who rule independently and often tyrannically. Unlike any other kingdom and any other throne, this kingdom and this throne were established to last forever. But what does that mean and why does it matter? Here in 2 Samuel, as we look at the king God put on the earthly throne over his people—the throne that was to be an earthy extension of his heavenly throne—we get a glimpse of the forever God intends to give to us. David was the king who was according to God’s own heart, the kind of king God wanted to rule over his people. As we listen in on the promises God made to his king, we’ll discover that these promises shape the forever that God is inviting us into.

The King’s City

David was a teenager when the prophet Samuel anointed him to be king over Israel. Twenty-five years later David was still not ruling on the throne. Instead he had spent those years leading armies into battle and ducking from Saul’s spears and living out in the wilderness and even in foreign countries. Second Samuel picks up the history of Israel immediately after Saul’s death. Inchapter 2 we read that David was finally made king of Judah in the south while Ish-bosheth the son of Saul was made king of Israel in the north, a hint of the division in the kingdom that will come later. Second Samuel 3:1 tells us, “There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. And David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker.” All of the people who had followed Ish-bosheth had to decide if they would accept the king that God had chosen and anointed and submit to his rule for their lives (which is really the same decision we have to make). When we come to 2 Samuel 5, we read:

Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the Lord said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.’” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. (vv. 5:1–3)

So then David became king over all twelve tribes. But to effectively rule over all the tribes of Israel, David needed a capital city that would be centrally located amongst the tribes, a city that could become a fortress to withstand attack. And there was such a city. In fact, it had a royal history. A thousand years before the time of David, there was a city called Salem, in which a good king named Melchizedek ruled, who was also a priest of Yahweh (Gen. 14:18). Eventually Salem was taken over by the Jebusites who built a wall around the city and called it Jebus (1 Chron. 11:4). In David’s day, it was a fortress city set on a hill on the border between Judah and Benjamin, just the right location for ruling over all Israel. But there was a problem. Although it had been three hundred years since the Israelites crossed over the Jordan and began possessing the land God had promised to give to them, they still had not taken permanent possession of this great city. But this is now God’s king leading God’s people, and Jerusalem is about to become God’s place, a city that already had been and was going to become even more central to the purposes of God, not only for Israel but for the world, and not just in David’s day but forever.

And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off”—thinking, “David cannot come in here.” Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David. (2 Sam. 5:6–7)

The stronghold on Mount Zion, one of several mountains in Jerusalem, became the center of David’s kingdom. David established his palace and his center of government there. God established his great king in his great city.

And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him. And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, also carpenters and masons who built David a house. And David knew that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. (2 Sam. 5:10–12)

David was the king, but he clearly didn’t rule like other kings of his day. Rather than ruling as a proud head of state exercising absolute control, David ruled humbly as vice-regent to Israel’s true King, God himself. He used his throne as a pulpit from which to preach God’s rule and reign. “The Lord reigns,” David wrote. “He is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting” (Ps. 93:1–2).

The King’s Joy

So David was established in Jerusalem. But there was something very important that was not in Jerusalem. It was hidden far away. Decades before, the ark of the covenant had been taken into battle but had been left in the possession of the Philistines. It had been passed around from city to city because every place the Philistines took it got struck with plagues. So finally they took it across the border and left it in someone’s home in Israel. And there it sat for decades. This meant that for decades there was no ark of the covenant in the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle for the priests to approach once a year and sprinkle with blood for the forgiveness of the people’s sins. And evidently nobody seemed to care. But David cared.

In their desire for a king, the people of Israel had wanted someone to lead them into battle, and David had proved many times, over his years as a commander under Saul, that he was a great warrior. But David was not only lead warrior for Israel; he was also lead worshiper. This meant that he could not stand for the symbol of God’s active presence with his people to remain far away from Jerusalem, the heart and headquarters of the people of God. David wanted to put God at the center of the city. He wanted God to be at the center of their lives.

The ark represented the throne of God, or more precisely his footstool. When David brought the ark to Jerusalem, it was his way of joining his throne to the throne of God or, more specifically, submitting his throne to the throne of God. The ark of God in the city served as a sign that David, as the king of Israel, was under the authority of the great King, that the Lord was the true king of Israel, not David. Evidently nothing could have made David happier than for his reign to derive its splendor from the presence of the ark of God.

So David had a city and a beautiful house in that city and was enjoying the presence of God with him in that city. The Philistines had been defeated, and peace had broken out all through the kingdom. After all those years of sleeping in caves and hiding from Saul and all the years of sleeping in tents on various battlefields, it must have felt good to wake up every morning in his own bed in his cedar-paneled bedroom. But one day, as David sat on the roof of his luxurious palace overlooking the city, he saw something terribly amiss. He caught a glimpse of the shabby four-hundred-year-old tent that housed the ark of God, the tabernacle. And the stark contrast between his royal dwelling and the rumpled dwelling place of the ark of God was simply embarrassing. David became determined to make things right. He wanted to do something for the God who had done so much for him.

The king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.” (2 Sam. 7:1–3)

There’s no indication that Nathan consulted or inquired of the Lord in this matter, as prophets were always to do before speaking with the authority of God. Evidently Nathan’s first response was not formed by revelation from God but was a common-sense reaction to a good idea presented by someone whom he knew wanted to honor God.

But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’” (2 Sam. 7:4–7)

This was the God who comes down to dwell with his people speaking. And as long as his people were wandering, which they had done for many years in the wilderness and throughout the years of taking possession of the land in Israel, he intended to wander with them. As long as they didn’t have fixed security, he was not interested in having a fixed place to dwell. Moses had told the people that when God gave them rest from all their enemies so that they were able to live in safety, then, in the place God chose, God would make his name dwell there (Deut. 12:10–11). And while there was much peace at this point under David’s rule, there were still enemies to be defeated. Only when his people were settled and secure would God be ready to move out of the traveling tent and into a permanent home.

David was about to learn that “sometimes the purposes of God cut right across the desires of our hearts.”2 We have desires for things, and they are good things, even righteous things, and we are so sure that the Lord must have placed those desires in us. But we have to be careful that we are not confusing our desires with God’s direction or intention. Sometimes God says no, not because he wants to deprive us or disappoint us or because what we want is sinful or bad, but because he is working out his plans for the world and for us that we cannot see from our perspective. When God’s purposes cut across our desires, we can be sure that his purposes are better than ours and that his plans for our lives are better than our plans.

The King’s House

Clearly God had a plan for David that exponentially surpassed any plan David could ever have conceived.

Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.” (2 Sam. 7:8–9)

God honored the intention of David’s heart with an intention of his own heart, saying in essence to David, “You don’t provide for me; I provide for you.” God doesn’t operate on a quid pro quo basis but only on the basis of grace. If we think God is drumming his fingers, wishing we would come up with something creative to do for him, something impressive or costly, we have not yet understood grace. God was saying, “David, this life with me is not about doing for me; it is about receiving fromme.” God reminded David who is taking care of whom. God is going to make David’s name great. And he’s going to do more than that.

Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. (2 Sam. 7:11–15)

When David told God that he wanted to build God a house, he was talking about a temple to house the ark where the priests would offer sacrifices and mediate between God and his people. But God told David he wanted to build David a house. God wasn’t talking about a family dwelling or a temple but about a royal dynasty. The British royal family, for example, is “the house of Windsor.” God was promising David that his descendants would become an enduring dynasty of kings. His descendants would take his place on his throne over Israel.

The King’s Throne

But this wouldn’t be like any other dynasty the world had ever known.

And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever. (2 Sam. 7:16)

If we were identifying on a timeline of history the handful of high points, we would put our pencil point on creation and then go to the promise God made, after Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, of an offspring of the woman who would crush the Serpent’s head; and then we would skip to the promise made to Abraham that all nations would be blessed through him; and then to the time when God brought Israel out of Egypt and through the Red Sea; and then our line would ark toward this day, to these promises made to David. And we would be tracing not only the significant history of the world; we would be discovering what we need most to know about the future of the world. Tracing these significant events marked by promises of blessing would help us to see that the blessing God promised to pour out on the world through Abraham is going to come in the form of a kingdom. A descendant of David is going to be the King of this kingdom. The royal Son of David is going to bless the world by ruling over it for all eternity. That is the future of the world that has been fixed by the one who created and governs this world.

To understand all that God promised here to David, we have to understand that this prophecy did what a lot of prophetic messages in the Old Testament do. It takes an extended series of events and collapses it so that the near and distant events can appear from this vantage point to be only one event. Some aspects of promises and prophecies were fulfilled in Israel’s near future, and other aspects were to be fulfilled over the long-term future.

God promised that he would make David’s name great and give him a place of security for his people, and he did that in David’s day. God promised that he would establish a dynasty from David, that David’s son would sit on his throne and would build a house for God. God did that in Solomon’s day, when Solomon sat on David’s throne and built a temple in Jerusalem. God promised that when David’s son sinned, he would discipline him, which he did with Solomon and the other Davidic kings who followed him. But while the Davidic dynasty lasted longer than any other ancient dynasty—four hundred years—there came a day when there was no son of David sitting on the throne over God’s people in Israel. In fact, there was no throne in Jerusalem and hardly a people—just a small remnant of people worshiping in a tattered temple under the rule of a foreign king. They must have wondered, and we too might wonder, what happened to God’s promise that David’s house, kingdom, and throne would last forever? Was the promise of forever a mirage? A failure?

In Psalm 89, a psalm written long after the days of David when it seemed as if God’s commitment to the reign of his anointed king was in jeopardy, the psalmist asked the wrenching question that was likely on everyone’s mind and in everyone’s heart: “Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David?” (Ps. 89:49). The psalmist was not just lamenting that there was no king and no throne; he was questioning whether God was proving faithful to his promise to David.

But while the psalmists wondered aloud about God’s fulfillment of his promise, they also celebrated their certainty that their true king, God himself, was on his throne. And the prophets continually encouraged the people that God was going to do something in the future to fulfill his promise to David. Isaiah wrote: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” (Isa. 11:10). Isaiah was saying that though the seed of David might have gone underground, it had not been cut off for good. Amos spoke for God, saying: “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old” (Amos 9:11). Jeremiah prophesied: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land (Jer. 23:5). The prophet Ezekiel wrote of a day when the exiled people of Israel would be gathered to their own land. “They and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever” (Ezek. 37:25). And Zechariah seemed to see into the future by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, saying:

Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey…
and he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth. (Zech. 9:9–10)

Yes, the Old Testament prophets continually called the people of God to hold on to their confidence in the promises God made to David. But then the prophets stopped prophesying. There was only silence—hundreds of years of silence. But just as the death of David and all of his descendants who sat on his throne could not kill the promise, and just as the sin of David and Solomon and all of the other kings could not annul the promise, so time could not exhaust God’s promise. The day came when God sent his angel Gabriel to a young girl living in Israel at a time when a cruel puppet king sat on the throne over Israel. The angel told Mary that she was going to have a son. But this wasn’t going to be just any baby. This was going to be the Son, the King that generations had been longing for and waiting for ever since God made his covenant with David. The angel said:

He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. (Luke 1:32–33)

When Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem, the promise God made to David was fulfilled. Finally, David’s son had come to take David’s throne. When Jesus began his ministry and people saw his miracles, they were so astonished that they said, “Could this be the Son of David?” (Matt. 12:23). And as his ministry continued, more and more people hoped that he really would be a great warrior king like his ancestor David, one who would defeat all of their enemies. Crowds lined the street when Jesus entered into David’s great city, Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, just as Zechariah had prophesied.

So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” (John 12:13)

But Jerusalem did not ultimately receive her King. It became clear that this King did not intend to establish a political kingdom. So instead of receiving him, they rejected him and conspired against him and handed him over to their foreign ruler, the Roman governor Pilate, to be crucified like a criminal. Rather than bowing to their King, they mocked him and spat on him. Instead of putting a crown of honor on his head, they pressed a crown of thorns into his head.

And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands… Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified…. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” (John 19:2–3, 15–16, 19)

All those years of longing and waiting, and when the Son of David came, they didn’t want him. Like the people of Saul’s day who had wanted a warrior king who would lead them into battle, the people of Jesus’s day wanted a warrior king who would free them from the rule of Rome. But Jesus came the first time not as a warrior king but as a shepherd king—a good shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep that he might take it up again (John 10:17). Just as God had lifted David from tending sheep in Bethlehem to sit on the throne, so God raised Jesus from the grave to sit on the throne. That’s where he sits now, which is what God had always intended when he put David on the throne. And evidently David knew this. The Holy Spirit revealed to David that the very purpose of David’s ascension to the throne was to establish it for the Christ who would come to reign on it forever. That’s what Peter said in his first sermon at Pentecost:

Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, [David] foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ…. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God…. Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified. (Acts 2:29–36)

Peter made clear that not only had the Son of David come to David’s city, but also, by his resurrection from the dead and his ascension to the right hand of God, he is now seated on David’s throne. And because Jesus lives forever, his throne will last forever.

It wasn’t long after Peter preached at Pentecost that the emperor Domitian sat on the Roman throne and demanded to be addressed as “lord” and “god.” Those, like Peter, who called Jesus “Lord” and “God” were being severely persecuted and put to death. The Roman throne was a source of fear and anxiety as well as of unparalleled suffering. But the apostle John was one of many who just couldn’t keep from talking about his true King, Jesus, and so he was arrested and imprisoned on Patmos. And while he was there, he was invited to see who is truly on the throne of this world, a vision he recorded in Revelation.

I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven…. At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. (Rev. 4:1–2)

As John peered into the heart of ultimate reality beyond the time and space of this world we live in now, what did he see? Amidst everything else that John saw, what stood out the most, at the center of everything, was a throne. And not just a throne, but an occupied throne, occupied by one who calls himself “the root and the descendant of David” (Rev. 22:16). There on the throne is the one who both preceded David in his deity and descended from David in his humanity.

John wrote about what he saw, pulling back the curtain for us so that we can see what is most important, what really matters. My friends, the centerpiece of heaven is not mansions with many rooms or streets of gold, though the city will be magnificent. The wonder of heaven is not choruses of angels, though they will sound glorious. And I say this gently to those of you, who, like me, look forward with longing to seeing those you love one day in heaven: the most compelling part of heaven will not be seeing those who have gone before us. The centerpiece of heaven, the focal point of this universe, the reality that all of history has been driving toward, is the Son of David on the throne of the universe—ruling and reigning, providing a safe place for his people to rest, giving to them all the benefits of his kingdom, refusing to let anything ever harm them again.

And since Jesus is on the throne, you can stop trying to rule the world. You can stop all of your worrying and your vain attempts to control everything about your life and your family. The one who is seated on the throne is not only able to supply your needs and provide your protection; he has at his disposal everything needed to fulfill all of his promises to you. Because he is on the throne, your joy doesn’t have to be so tied to your circumstances, and your sense of security doesn’t have to be so easily shaken. The Lord reigns.

The latest report on cable news about the state of the world does not define the future. That’s why we probably shouldn’t begin our days with the morning news on the television or radio or Internet. Instead, we should begin in the Word of God. Every day should begin and end by being reminded from the Scriptures: The Lord God Omnipotent reigns. He reigns over my difficult circumstances. He reigns over my ongoing conflict. He reigns over my carefully crafted plans. And he can be trusted. He is a good King.

The Lord who reigns is so good that he actually invites us to approach his throne with the confidence that, when we do, we will not be shamed or condemned or turned away. Instead, we will find grace and mercy. We can pour out all of our concerns to him who sits on the throne, saying, “Jesus, you are king over all of this. Forgive me for feeling so free to question you, blame you, even disregard you. Give me eyes to see you on your throne. Give me a heart willing to trust that you will do what is best. Give me the spiritual strength to bend to your righteous rule in my life. Help me to live out this day in peace, confident that you are on your throne.”

We can live this way today because we know there is a day coming, a day when our ears will hear what John’s ears heard. On that day, we will enter the New Jerusalem. The presence of God will be there radiating the glory that will penetrate into the deepest part of us. There in the center will be the throne occupied by the Son of David. We’ll hear loud voices saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). And it will be the best news we’ve ever heard.

This world—your world—is not ruled by the forces of random chance. King Jesus is on his throne. And he will reign forever and ever.

Crown Him with many crowns, The Lamb upon His throne.
Hark! How the heav’nly anthem drowns all music but its own!
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.3

Notes

1. Robert Matthews, “Diamonds Aren’t Forever,” Focus, January 17, 2008.

2. Iain Campbell, “Who Am I?,” sermon (Point Free Church, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, October 4, 2009).

3. Matthew Bridges, “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” 1852.

Nancy Guthrie


Son of David BookTaken from The Son of David: Seeing Jesus in the Historical Books, by Nancy Guthrie. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187, www.crossway.org.

What kind of king and what kind of kingdom are we asking for when we pray this prayer Jesus taught us to pray? A study of the Old Testament Historical Books—Joshua through Esther—enables us to see the kingdom of God not only as it once was, but also as it is now, and as it will be one day. Over ten weeks of guided study, relevant teaching, and group discussion, seasoned Bible teacher Nancy Guthrie traces the history of the people of God from the time they entered the Promised Land through a series of failed kings, exile, and finally their return to await the true King.

{ Day 258 }.


David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. … All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him. 1 Samuel 22:1-2

After the praises and promotion in Gibeah, David’s career took a sharp turn. He lost all favor in Saul’s court. Saul rose up to kill him and enlisted three thousand men to chase, capture, and murder him. Seldom has there been such a dramatic reversal. David, probably confused and exasperated, at least initially, fled and made his headquarters in the dark, damp wilderness cave of Adullam. There he gathered four hundred men together, and for about seven years they and their families wandered the wilderness. Gibeah had tested him with praise and success. Now Adullam was testing him with hardship. God put David in Adullam for seven long years to firmly root his identity in God. The lessons of this season, though extremely difficult to learn, would prove to be his protection when he became king of Israel. In the same way, God doesn’t want us to get our identity even a little bit from our anointing or earthly success but from being loved by God and being a lover of God. Our ministry can fall apart. The people who admired us can leave. The blessing of the Spirit can lift off our labors for a season. We can lose our building, our home, and our financial base, but if we love God and He loves us, we are still successful. This is the sure inheritance the Father has promised us.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, I’ve spent time in Adullam. I have lived on the backside of the desert in my spiritual life. Help me never to forget that even in the wilderness You love me, protect me, and bring me to a mature, intimate relationship with You.

We must remember when we suddenly are shoved
into an Adullam season that God has a
divine pattern for maturing us.

By MIKE BICKLE.

David and Goliath – Bible Story Summary.


Scripture Reference:

1 Samuel 17

David and Goliath – Story Summary:

The Philistine army had gathered for war against Israel. The two armies faced each other, camped for battle on opposite sides of a steep valley. A Philistine giant measuring over nine feet tall and wearing full armor came out each day for forty days, mocking and challenging the Israelites to fight. His name was Goliath. Saul, the King of Israel, and the whole army were terrified of Goliath.

One day David, the youngest son of Jesse, was sent to the battle lines by his father to bring back news of his brothers. David was probably just a young teenager at the time. While there, David heard Goliath shouting his daily defiance and he saw the great fear stirred within the men of Israel. David responded, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of God?”

So David volunteered to fight Goliath. It took some persuasion, but King Saul finally agreed to let David fight against the giant. Dressed in his simple tunic, carrying his shepherd’s staff, slingshot and a pouch full of stones, David approached Goliath. The giant cursed at him, hurling threats and insults.

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 … today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air … and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel … 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.”

As Goliath moved in for the kill, David reached into his bag and slung one of his stones at Goliath’s head. Finding a hole in the armor, the stone sank into the giant’s forehead and he fell face down on the ground. David then took Goliath’s sword, killed him and then cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. So the Israelites pursued, chasing and killing them and plundering their camp.

Points of Interest from the David and Goliath Story:

• Why did they wait forty days to begin the battle? Probably for several reasons. Everyone was afraid of Goliath. He seemed invincible. Not even King Saul, the tallest man in Israel, had stepped out to fight. Also, the sides of the valley were very steep. Whoever made the first move would have a strong disadvantage and probably suffer great loss. Both sides were waiting for the other to attack first.

• David chose not to wear the King’s armor because it felt cumbersome and unfamiliar. David was comfortable with his simple slingshot, a weapon he was skilled at using. God will use the unique skills he’s already placed in your hands, so don’t worry about “wearing the King’s armor.” Just be yourself and use the familiar gifts and talents God has given you. He will work miracles through you.

• David’s faith in God caused him to look at the giant from a different perspective. Goliath was merely a mortal man defying an all-powerful God. David looked at the battle from God’s point of view. If we look at giant problems and impossible situations from God’s perspective, we realize that God will fight for us and with us. When we put things in proper perspective, we see more clearly and we can fight more effectively.

• When the giant criticized, insulted and threatened, David didn’t stop or even waver. Everyone else cowered in fear, but David ran to the battle. He knew that action needed to be taken. David did the right thing in spite of discouraging insults and fearful threats. Only God’s opinion mattered to David.

Questions for Reflection:

Are you facing a giant problem or impossible situation? Stop for a minute and refocus. Can you see the situation more clearly from God’s vantage point?

Do you need to take courageous action in the face of insults and fearful circumstances? Do you trust that God will fight for you and with you? Remember, God’s opinion is the only one that matters.

By , About.com Guide

God’s Appointment.


He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings.
Daniel 2:21a

Recommended Reading
1 Samuel 26:5-25 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Samuel%2026:5-25&version=NKJV )

When the people of Israel began to praise David more than King Saul, he became jealous and sought to kill David. God had appointed David to be the next king and when Saul set himself against David, he was setting himself against God. It would have been easy for David to fight back, but he knew God had given Saul the kingship. Until God demoted Saul, David honored God by respecting Saul.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message  ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

The Psalms David wrote during that time are filled with heartfelt prayers asking God to defend him. Twice David had the opportunity to kill Saul. The second time David spared Saul’s life, his prayers were answered. Saul realized his error and stopped pursuing David: “May you  be  blessed, my son David! You shall both do great things and also still prevail” (1 Samuel 26:25a).

God hears our prayers. David knew he could trust the King of kings to reign in the world and in his circumstances. He honored God through prayerfully maintaining an attitude of respect, patience, and temperance toward the governing authority God had placed above him.

We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth.
Andrew Murray

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Jeremiah 15-17

By David Jeremiah.

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