Monthly Archives: May, 2013

2 Samuel 10, 1 Chronicles 19, Psalm 20

2 Sam 10, 1 Chron 19, Ps 20

Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Samuel%2010,%201%20Chronicles%2019,%20Psalm%2020&version=NIV

Don’t you feel a little bit like a jumping bean…. 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, and Psalms…ALL in one day!! <<<<smile>>>> Since we have been in Psalms quite a bit I want to recap some of the people especially for anyone just reading for today.

WHO the heck is fighting? We begin with Hanun, king of the Ammonites. The Ammonites are descendants of Ammon. Ammon and Moab were the two sons that came from Lot’s incest with his daughters (the angels had to PULL Lot OUT of the destruction that was coming on their heels for Sodom and Gomorrah, fleeing the destruction, Lot’s wife looked back after she was told NOT to and turned to salt, then Lot and his daughters were living in a cave…his daughters saw NO way to have husbands or children so they plotted to get their father drunk on separate nights and each conceived sons….I KNOW…ICK!!) In case you would like to read the entire story for yourself just go to Genesis 19:36-38. Now in our current times WE think we see such “new” ways that people are mean to each other. However, Solomon said it best in Ecclesiastes 1:9 “there is NOTHING new under the sun!!” Our weapons are stronger and more powerful, our clothing and jewelry may look a little different, but man’s propensity for sin, man’s desire to know God (or a god), and the basic things of life….are no different. I mean I can think of a few movies, news headlines, and TV shows that could have come STRAIGHT out of the Bible!!

So, both the Ammonites and Moabites were pagans and were determined to live their wicked ways. For YEARS Lot and his entire family came under the protection God had placed on Abraham, but there came a time when God no longer could tolerate their wickedness. A couple of days ago we saw where David and his men destroyed the Moabites. Today we read about the destruction of the Ammonites. The Moabites and the Ammonites were two very strong nations. They were brothers and I am sure fed off of each other. However, under David’s leadership and the guidance of God, David conquered both nations.

In our reading today, the ENTIRE war began ALL because of an ASSUMPTION and we all know what happens when we ASSUME!! David sent his ambassadors to show sympathy to king Hanun for the death of his father. David did this because Hanun’s father had been so kind to him and he wanted to show honor and respect in his death. However, Hanun listened to his advisors …. ummmmm… WRONG advice!! As king, Hanun COULD have been diplomatic with David and asked why he sent his men ….but NOOOOOOO!!! In 1 Chronicles 20 (I read a little ahead because I thought we were supposed to read 1 Chronicles 19 & 20….then discovered it was 1 Chronicles 19 and PSALMS 20…lol) we will see that king Hanun will pay a HUGE price for his ASSUMPTION. Lots of lessons in this one section but if ONLY Hanun could have known about James 1:19 — “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” OK…so he had no way of knowing this ….but WE DO, right?

So WHY did the Ammonites shave half the beard of each man and remove their clothing??? According to 2 Samuel 10:4 — they “shaved off half of each man’s beard, cut off their garments in the middle of their buttocks, and sent them away.” So the Israelites were half shaven and either half clothed or totally naked, the result was not just an insult and humiliation to the men but also to ALL of Israel!!! I love the way David honored his men and had great compassion for them by instructing them to go to Jericho to heal and allow their beards to grow back.

Shaving an Israelites beard was HUGE to them!!! First, it was part of the law but it was also a sign of maturity and part of their culture. (For deeply rooted Jews today their beards are not to be shaved.) Exposing their buttocks, or more of their bodies, and sending them on their way, how humiliating!!! BAD BAD BAD Hanun!!!

JOAB — we have read about him in previous chapters. But let’s take a closer look at who this man was. Joab was David’s nephew, David’s sister’s, Zeruiah, son. His name in Hebrew is “Yoab” which means “The Lord (Jehovah) is Father.” Thus far we have seen Joab as VERY loyal and trusting towards David and most importantly to the LORD. This makes Joab and David a very strong team. He is David’s General/Commander in Chief so was very skilled in military strategy and success. Dave and Joab prepare for battle by saying: “Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his sight.”

As David’s General/Commander in Chief, he was the military man behind Israel’s most successful warrior king, David. Joab was very cunning, courageous, ruthless, over zealous, and was driven by revenge. He had two brothers, Abishai and Asahel. We are still reading about the strength and battle skills of Abishai as one of David’s high ranking military officers. However, Asahel was killed in self defense by Abner (2 Samuel 2:21-23.) You may recall that Joab murdered Abner (the general of king Saul’s successor who sincerely wanted to switch sides and join David’s.) Joab wanted revenge on Abner for killing his brother Asahel (although it was in self defense) AND Joab had some fear of losing his “power” as David’s Commander in Chief. Could Joab’s zealousness AND his desire for power come back to bit him the his buttocks??? Stay tuned to find out!! (Ummmmmmm…sounds like there is a “buttocks theme going on today <<<smile>>>.)

Having good mentors, prayer warriors, accountability partners, etc, in our lives who we can trust and confide in, make plans with, share thoughts with, and depend on for correction, encouragement, and exhortation is vital in our daily survival and Christian growth. However, we must always remember that as much as we love, admire, and cherish the words of wisdom from these people in our lives they are no substitute for God in our lives. Look at what scripture says about having good friends:

“If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecc 4:10-12)

As you are reading 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles together you will notice that some of the people interactions are missing in Chronicle (such as Mephibosheth from yesterday, and Bathsheba and Absalom in future Chronicle reading.) it is important to remember the reason Chronicles was written. It was written to FOCUS on God’s long term relationship with Israel and on the temple as a symbol of God’s presence among them.

Psalm 20 — was written by David as a prayer for victory in battle. I love this prayer and use it when I am facing great challenges. It is a great WORD to help us maintain our focus on God in the midst of any trials.

Look at verse 7 again: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

Merriam Webster dictionary defines TRUST as: “a: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something; b: one in which confidence is placed…” The Blue Letter Bible TRUST defines it as the Hebrew word “chacah” which means: “to seek refuge, flee (to what is trusted) for protection, to confide or hope in God.”

I have to tell you, I know VERY LITTLE about chariots and horses and they do very little for me when I think about trusting in them. So I try to think of things that I (or maybe you) may put trust in wrongly such as: news reports, doctors’ reports, court outcomes, challenging personal or national finances, gossip, opinion’s of others, negative thoughts, stinking thinking, career endings, wars, terrorists, spending, drugs, alcohol, people in power, people with power, or other things or people, etc…. BUT I TRUST IN THE NAME OF THE LORD MY GOD AND IN HIS LOVING, LIVING WORD WHICH HAS FOREVER CHANGED MY HEART AND LIFE. —I KNOW God wants each of us to KNOW HIM personally and speak with HIM personally — before, during, and after our challenges/battles!!

As Psalm 20:4 says: “May HE give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”

Sharing HIS love,

 

Psalm 50, 53, 60, 75

Ps 50, 53, 60, 75

Click here for the reading: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalms%2050,%2053,%2060,%2075&version=NIV

For those of you reading daily, thank you….you inspire me!!! TODAY we will, together, have officially read HALF of the Psalms!!! This is our 74th Psalm!!! WOO HOO!!! We ARE moving right along in our goal to read the bible in a year!! To those of you who check in when you can… GOOD for you!! My philosophy is that ANY day is a good day to read God’s Word!!!

Psalm 50 — This Psalm was written by Asaph to show us that God desires sincere thanks, trust, and praise. Verses 1-15 speaks to the people who are superficial in their faith, treat God lightly, do things for “show” (so others can see them), just go through the motions half heartedly. These people do not honor God. God is VERY explicit when HE says: “I have NO need of a your burnt offerings, your bull (no pun intended…well maybe a little, but that’s what it said…seriously), your goats, ….. because it ALL belongs to me anyway” (my paraphrase from verses 8-10.) Plain and simple God has ALWAYS desired for HIS people to love HIM with ALL their hearts, and their hearts were lukewarm.

Verses 16-22, God is chiding the people who were wicked, hard hearted, and led immoral lives. As clear as HIS statement is, God wasn’t speaking about people who LOOK a certain way. He was talking about the look of their hearts from HIS knowledge. These were people who claimed to know HIM and claimed to keep HIS promises but REFUSED to obey HIM. ANYone is a hypocrite who claims to be what they are not. Again…it’s a heart thing!! This section ends with a HUGE warning and a promise — “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue; He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.”

Psalm 53 — A Psalm by David that focuses on the fact that all have sinned, and because of sin ..NO ONE can find, make, his or her own way to God. ONLY God can save us, through our acceptance of Jesus Christ. NO THING we could EVER do, no matter how could can get us into heaven, EXCEPT our confession and belief that Jesus Christ is Lord and the confession of our sin and true to desire to repent/change/not repeat our sins. THAT’s it…NO THING else.

Once we know Jesus, just because we do certain things well or thoroughly doesn’t mean it is a good thing. God desires that we watch out thoughts and actions to make sure they are part of ways. For an example a person may be a very successful, kind, skillful gambler, liar, or prostitute …but none of these things are part of God’s plan for anyone. David professes his flourishing in the house of God. He proclaims his TRUST in God’s unfailing love. And that he will praise HIM forever and ever.

Psalm 60 — This was written by David about the time that Israel was away at war with Aram in the north and Edom invaded Israel from the south (2 Samuel 8.) We gain information in this Psalm that is not in 2 Samuel. Times may have appeared bleak, just as they can in our own lives. However, as believers in Jesus Christ we must KNOW we are never alone, which is why God tells us to CONTINUALLY transform our minds (Romans 12:1-2.) God is ALWAYS with us regardless of what our circumstances appear to be, regardless of what the doctor’s report says, or anything else you may have going on in your life. We may feel out of control but God is ALWAYS in control and we can TRUST HIM. Words that struck me in this Psalm were: “save us….help us…delivered…God has spoken from HIS sanctuary…triumph….with God we will gain the victory…”

Psalm 75 — Asaph is the author of this Psalm. It reminds us that one day the tables will be turned upon the wicked. Have you ever driven somewhere that is several hours away from your home with a child? If you did, were you asked about every 5 minutes: “Are we there yet?” Young children have NO concept of time. They can only comprehend the present. Even if you put a clock in from of them and tell them the big hand will be “here” when we get “there”…you will STILL hear them ask quite often..”Are we there yet?” As adults, we have a better concept of time in terms of clocks and how long a trip will take us…but convert that to God’s time…and it can become a mind blower. I know I often ask God: “Is it time yet?” We simply have no concept of God’s timing except for when we have prayed and prayed through something and come out the other side, THEN we are able to comprehend not so much time, but the fact that HIS timing is/was the perfect timing. HOLD on too those times when you have seen God work in your life. HOLD on to those times when you can witness that God’s timing is the perfect timing. These times are some of the things that build our faith, so when things are happening around us that we don’t understand and we ask God “Is it time yet?” then we can recall the times we have seen the perfection of God’s timing!! HOLD ON my friends…Hold on!!

Sharing HIS love,

2 Samuel 8-9, 1 Chronicles 18

2 Sam 8-9; 1 Chronicles 18

Click here for todays’s reading
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Samuel%208-9;%201%20Chronicles%2018&version=NIV

As we read today’s read we see that David wiped out more of the Philistines (they must have been a gianmormous force.) Conquering the Philistines was HUGE, if you recall back when Moses was leading the people out of Egypt, God specifically did not want them to go through the land of the Philistines because they were such warriors and HE did not want the Israelites to become discouraged and return to Egypt (Exodus 13:17.) Can you imagine their strength several hundred years later!!??

David was now King of Israel, was following God’s command to UNIFY Israel which meant obeying God’s direction. You may be wondering why David killed some of the Moabites. If you look back at Deuteronomy 7:1-3 there were several “ites” that God told Israel to COMPLETELY destroy so no remnant remained that could further tempt the Israelites with their godless ways. However, Israel NEVER did this.

The Moabites were not in that list of “ites” that God instructed Israel to totally destroy, so David did not have to destroy ALL of them and he could take the plunder (which he dedicated to God for Solomon to use in building the Temple.) I can’t say that I understand the method of who he killed, but there you go. Keep in mind that for hundreds of years, God had preserved the Moabites and the Ammonites because they were under the covering of Abraham. Since Lot was Abraham’s nephew, he came under the covering of the covenant God made with the Israelites. Although Moab and Ammon were sons of Lot through incest with his 2 daughters (they got him drunk and had sex with him because they saw NO other way to have children.) However, in Numbers 21:15, the sin of the Moabites and their refusal to praise the ONE true God led the way for the Scripture to prophesy: “Woe to you, O Moab! You are destroyed, O people of Chemosh (god of the Moabites and Ammonites)!” Although David’s great grandmother was Ruth, a Moabite who CHOSE to follow the Israelite life, this didn’t mean that her decision had any impact on the people she left behind. Defeating the Moabites was a challenge as well, they had always been ridiculously strong in military strategy. The Edomites (descendants of Esau) were also conquered.

I LOVE reading the line: “The Lord gave David victory everywhere he went.” What a peace I had reading that because it told me David was doing what God wanted him to do and as David obeyed, God blessed him. Reading this may seem rather harsh, but I trust God in what HE is having us read. God wanted UNITY in Israel and if HIS people would have obeyed HIS instructions way back in Deuteronomy maybe a lot of this would have been prevented because they would have remained one. But…it just goes to show…people are people and by and large want to do things “their way, in their own understanding.” I am reminded of a song Frank Sinatra used to sing called “I Did It My Way” ….. really isn’t something to brag about….know what I mean???

My FAVORITE part of today’s read was MEPHIBOSETH (I told you we’d be seeing his name again, and here it is <<smile>>.) I LOVE this story and although this story is as “old as dirt” …there are SO many applications for today!! As a refresher, in 2 Samuel 4:4 the news of Saul and Jonathan’s death was spreading. Mephiboseth was 5. His nurse picked him up trying to hurry to get out of “Dodge” for fear that those who killed Jonathan and Saul would come to kill anyone in the house of Saul. As she hurried to leave, Mephiboseth fell and was crippled for life in both legs.

David asked (2 Samuel 9:1) “Is there ANYONE still left of the house of Saul to who I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake? David had just come in from battle and rather than focusing on all “he” did he understood it was not him but God who did the fighting. And, he wanted to bless someone (what a great way to look at life… I’ve been blessed by God, now who can I be a blessing to!!) In 1 Samuel 20:12-17, Jonathan and David made a covenant with each other. Part of the covenant was that David would “NEVER cut off his kindness from Jonathan’s family” (paraphrase mine.) David always had the utmost respect for Saul because he understood that God anointed him for the position as king. David did not forget his promise (just the same way God does not forget his promises to us.)

David SEARCHED for someone related to Saul. He hears of a servant, Ziba, from the house of Saul that he can ask if there are any survivors of Saul’s family. Ziba tells him Mephibosheth (means “exterminating the idol”) is till alive. Did you notice the place Mephibosheth lived?? It was called Lo Debar. Lo Debar means “pasture-less.” In all likely hood Mephibosheth was living in extreme poverty. This generation depended on their animals and crops …but without pastureland….they would have had nothing. Just imagine for a moment that you are Mephibosheth, your family has been killed by enemies, you are crippled (in those days it was seen as a handicap), you feel you deserve NOTHING, and you are afraid of most everyone who may kill you because your blood line was from the old regime. Can you imagine your first thought when being called to come before the KING of ISRAEL? You have nothing to offer him, you can do nothing for him, and I’m sure you’re thinking…. OH MAN… I’m DEAD!!) Also did you notice in 2 Samuel 9:8 that Mephibosheth referred to himself as a “dead dog.” He came before King David, bowed before him and to his surprise David took care of him, he has him always eat at his table…the KING’S TABLE, he provided for Mephibosheth in more ways than we can possibly imagine. Can you image what a surprise this had to have been to Mephibosheth?? David brought in Mephibosheth’s son, Mica and made Ziva Mephibosheth’s servant all IN HIS HOUSE.

Do you ever think less of yourself or have fears that paralyze you? If so, remember this story of Mephibosheth. This is such a wonderful comparison of how God treats us, and all God wants for us. Mephibosheth was living in fear….of life itself. Fear STOPS faith!! Fear can rob of us living the life God has for us with so many wonderful blessings. Mephibosheth’s lameness is a symbol of our weaknesses. David SEARCHED for Mephibosheth just the way God SEARCHES for us. David made a promise/a covenant with Jonathan about his family and he was determined to keep it. God made a promise/covenant with Abraham about ALL his people. Jesus is the fulfillment of that promise with HIS BLOOD, for ALL of us. Jesus searches for us by “knocking” on the door of our heart. All we have to do is open the door and ask him in, believing HE is who HE says HE is. Is this not AWWWWEEEEESSSSOOOOMMMMEEEEE!!!! Jesus wants us to COME… EAT AT HIS TABLE WITH HIM!!!

Later when we read about David messing up (ummmmm…. a LOT of messing up) remember he is human and as with all humans, or sin has consequences even when we belong to Christ. David had a heart for God and for the most part he had a character of integrity, and when David messed up, he always returned to God. Remember there is ONLY ONE perfect man in history and for all eternity. His name is Jesus. He is God, we are not. Our “human nature” is one that tries to pull away from God, BUT with Jesus…..we are pulled back…HE wants to be EVERYthing we need TODAY and for all eternity. Life is hard. We will face challenges bigger than ourselves. But, David gives us a wonderful example of integrity and of repentance.

Don’t get stuck in the negative actions. Allow the light and love of our Most High God to fall upon you…ask for forgiveness…repent…and enjoy HIS blessings…. like Mephibosheth did!!

Sharing HIS love,