Thursday, April 28, 2016

Falling Flat on Your Face

O. T. #744  "Falling Flat on Your Face" 
April 28, 2016
2 Samuel 24-Part 2
So David and the leaders of Israel put on burlap to show their deep distress and fell face down on the ground.  2 Samuel 24:16 NLT


What does it take to knock us flat on our face before the Lord, to get us to repent of our sins and beg for His mercies? Sickness, problems with children, loss of a job, loss of money, divorce, death of loved ones? Why, oh why do we not do it before that point? Pride, lack of faith.... Been there, done that, friends. Desperate times call for desperate measure, they say. David was desperate-70,000 died in 3 days from a plague.

We found out that David was out of touch with God and did not seek His will before he ordered Joab to take a census of both Judah and Israel. Verse 1 tells us that God was angry with
Israel, though we don't know the reason. Also, we know that God permitted Satan to work so that the purposes of the Lord might be fulfilled. General Joab warned the king not to do it, when he stepped out of line, but without success. Are we stubborn like David and knowingly step out of God's will, all the time in the back of our mind we know there will be consequences to pay for it? Are we good at listening to advice or not? 

The thing is, David's kingdom was at peace during this time, so there was no need to enlist or count the troops.David's heart became troubled after the census results. Pride was behind this, so David could glory in his powerful army, and put his faith in it rather than in God's ability to protect them.
Do we place our security in money, possession, people, jobs, army of our nation?

Then in verse 10, David admits that he had sinned greatly by taking that census. He asked the Lord to forgive his guilt for doing that foolish thing. 

Both David and the Israelites were guilty of sin. God had previously warned His people if they disobeyed His law, then they could expect punishment-disease, famine, war, as found in Deuteronomy 28.

God gave sent the word of the LORD through Prophet Gad-David had three choices, forms of punishment, from which to choose:
  1. three years of famine throughout the land;
  2. three months of fleeing from their enemies;
  3. or three days of severe plague throughout the land. 
The prophet told David to think it over and decide what answer he should give the LORD that sent him to David.

Do we ever think over the consequences of our sins? Probably not. Do we ask the Lord to keep us from the wrong decision or going down the wrong path?


David knew God was merciful and pardoning of sin.
I am in a great strait! Let us fall now into the hand of the LORD: for His mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man, David replied to the Prophet Gad.

In the Hebrew language, strait (tsarar) means to be tied up, restricted, cramped, desperate.

When we get into a desperate situation, we get desperate, don't we? David's stomach was tied up in knots.

David made a wise choice. If you want grace, fall into the hands of God.If you want judgment, fall into the hands of fellow human beings. How miserable David must have felt, knowing his failure caused their pain, and loss. (Swindoll)

It was a high price to pay, all right.

What happened next:
  • There was a total of 70,000 people who died from a plague throughout the nation. The people paid the high price for their sin and David's sin. Families were broken apart, grief so strong that wailing must have been heard throughout the land as in Moses' day when the tenth plague upon Egypt fell upon their first born.
  • Just as the death angel approached Jerusalem, the City of David, the LORD said,"Stop! That is enough!" 
  • David fell face down on the ground as he saw his leaders in burlap showing their deep distress.
  • David interceded for his people. He admitted sinning when he took the census. He begged God, noting that His people were as innocent as sheep. His request was for God's anger to fall against David and his family, but not  destroy Your people.
We are going to leave David and the leaders of Israel flat on their faces.  Broken men, begging God for mercy.
When our heart is torn apart, do we get desperate and real before God? What does it take to bring us flat on our face before a holy God, begging for mercy? mmmm


                               ...of pride and sin and rebellion.

                               ...and repent, falling flat on my face.

                               ...and intercede for others effected.


Vacation 2016

Good morning my friends. We are on the road returning home from our vacation in Florida. We had a great time visiting my sister and her two daughters. It had been 5 years since we were together. So join me Monday as we continue towards the end of David's life.
O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Ps. 8:1

Such beautiful creation we have seen-Palm trees, gorgeous flowers, gators,and the ocean.

One of His children,

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Delighting in Wrong Doing

O. T. #744  "Delighting in Wrong Doing"
April 27, 2016
2 Samuel 24
But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this?  2 Samuel 24:3


Do people we know delight in doing the wrong thing? Now days it seems that they flaunt their sins-sleeping with a friend, doing drugs in front of the kids, leaving kids alone while they party. We would be appalled at the environments children live in and things they see and experience. David decided to do the wrong thing. Let's see what he did and why.

VI. Narrative on Lord's Anger on Israel

Here is the second outbreak of divine anger against this nation, with the famine being the first. The reason was unspecified here. Whatever the reason, it had David  ticked off with Israel too. God permitted Satan to work in order that the purposes of the Lord might be fulfilled-punishment for sin.

This probably happened in the latter years of David's life and on the heels of a war between Israel and the Philistine enemies. (Swindoll)

Satan incited David to take this census, and the Lord sovereignly and permissively used Satan to accomplish His will. (MacArthur)

In enemy was directly responsible for impressing David's mind with this wayward thought. Do we consider that the real battle we have begins in our mind? Paul warned us to "not be ignorant of his schemes" (2 Cor. 2:11). Satan has the ability to get into our mind and direct our thoughts. We need to send him on his way when that happens.

King David instructed his commander of the army, Joab, to number the people of Judah and Israel. Was his motive to learn the strength of his army? Was pride the silent reason behind David's ordering the census?

Are we careful to not allow our decisions to be influenced by pride? So we have discernment to recognize the difference?

Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on those things that are true, honest,just, pure, lovely, and of good report. Those are a good assignment for me today. How about you?


A census was usually for military purposes, which looks like is the case in verse 9. Joab question the king as to why he ordered a census throughout his kingdom, why he delighted in doing this. Joab warned against it, but the king's orders prevailed against the general's. Just do it! Right or wrong, he shall be done. And so it was.
Do people we know delight in doing the wrong thing?

Swindoll points out a couple of weaknesses in David's life at this point:
First, David was out of touch with God. He didn't seek God's counsel, nor did he search the Scriptures before making this decision.
The second weakness is that David was unaccountable to anyone around him.

It took 9 months and 20 days to count the entire nation. Joab reported to David they had 800,000 capable warriors in Israel who could handle a sword and 500,000 in Judah. Now 1 Chronicles 21 gives some other figures different.


Think on good things, not criticisms.

What I think, leads to words I say, and actions I do.

Keep in touch with God.

Stay accountable for my actions.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mighty Warriors

O. T. #743  "Mighty Warriors"
April 26, 2016
2 Samuel 23-Part 2


Friend, what battle are you doing through now? Maybe you are not in one, but  have gone through a battle lately. If neither applies to you, hang on tightly, for you will be going through soon. (Sorry, but that is life.)
Did you survive your battle? Honestly, that is a ridiculous question, Linda. I know you wouldn't be here with me if you had lost. So, how did you make it through? Did you come out with battle scars? Did your faith carry you through? Can you be considered a mighty warrior for Jesus? Won't you take time to share with us so we can learn from your experiences? David had many battles in his life, for sure. Yet, he was a mighty warrior, who had many mighty warriors, also.

V. Accounts of David's Warriors

The fifth account mentioned pertaining to David's life, though not in chronological order, is found in this chapter. David tells the names of his mightiest warriors in his army of about 400 men. It took place during the time Saul sought to kill David. These stories are also mentioned in 1 Chronicles 11-12.

The Scripture states that the mighty man, emphasizing excellence and unusual quality, is not victorious because of his strength (Ps. 33:16), but because of his understanding and knowledge of the Lord (Jer. 9:23-24). (MacArthur)

These men helped David become king, which are listed here. God recognizes them:
The Three-an elite, courageous group among David's fighting men; They loved David so much that they were willing to risk their lives to break through the Philistine enemy line to obtain some water from the well at Bethlehem. Because David knew of their sacrifice, he couldn't drink it and offered it unto the Lord as a drink offering. This water is as precious as the blood of these three men, who risked their lives to bring it to me, David explained. It was to express his unworthiness of the gesture.

Jashobeam, the top man in David's army, is mentioned here, since he once used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle. What a warrior! Eleazar was next in rank. He and David fought off the Philistines while Israelite army fled. Then there was Shammah, who held his ground in battle against the Philistines in a field full of lentils and beat them back.

Who wouldn't want these three guys to have your back? God gave them strength and ability, as well as the victories.
Are we a mighty warrior for Jesus? Do we trust Him to give us victory when we are fighting spiritual battles in our life?


The Thirty Mighty Men-was led by Abishai, brother of Joab. Once, he used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle. Now that is some guy.
Benaiah was a valiant warrior who killed two champions of Moab, chased down a lion into a pit and killed it on a snowy day; he killed a 71/2 foot tall Egyptian warrior with his spear, since Benaiah only had a club.
Other members of the Thirty Mighty Men are listed in verses 24-39, which were actually 37 in all. Some had to be replaced.

Jesus was victorious in His temptation presented by Satan in the wilderness, and in His battle with His flesh while hanging on the cross. His success was obtained by depending upon His heavenly Father.


Let God fight my battles, for I am worn and torn.

Trust Him for the victory.

Put on my spiritual armor, as in Ephesians.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Do You Need a Guarantee?

O. T. #742 "Do You Need a Guarantee?"
April 25, 2016
2 Samuel 23
His agreement is arranged and guaranteed in every detail. 2 Samuel 23:5


What would your last words be if you knew this was your last week in this life? Do you have some words of life to share with us? What life lessons have you learned? Do you have some light, hope, and security to share? Is your life a mess and  you need a guarantee that it will all turn out okay? David found it all. Shall we find out how and where?

IV. David's Last Words or The Second of David's Songs

Here is David's final literary legacy to Israel, but not his final speech. In verse 1, David acknowledges that the psalms he wrote were directed by the Holy Spirit and were the very Word of God. I wonder if he was amazed that God collected them and placed them in the Bible.  He praised his God from the heart.

Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:20-21, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation. the prophecy was not by the will of man, but by holy men of God who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

David had a sense of wonder that God would use him to convey His Words. What does he say?
  • David starts out describing himself as in a humble manner, the son of a farmer, sheep herder, son of Jesse. (verse 1)
  • He knew that he was the man appointed by the God of Jacob, as king of Israel. (verse 1)
  • David wanted to be remembered as a sweet psalmist of Israel. He was a musician, a writer of music, a player of music, and probably a singer of music. (verse 1)
  • The Spirit of the Lord spoke through David and David spoke for the Lord. God's divine instrument of revelation and inspiration is the Holy Spirit. (verse 2)
  • The Rock of Israel told David that the one who rules righteously and in the fear of God is like the light of the morning at sunrise, like a morning without clouds, like the gleaming of the sun on new grass after rain.
The fear of God denotes a healthy reverence for His power and majesty. (Holman Illustrated Bible Commentary)

Are we living in the fear of God, respecting His power and majesty, as the One who is sitting upon the throne of the universe? Not only is God hope, security, light, and strength to David, but He wants to be ours also.

Psalm 27:1 says, The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:14 encourages us to Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Psalm 29:11 assures us The LORD will give strength unto His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.


David asks, in verse 5, Is it not my family God has chosen?
Then he answers his own question, Yes, He has made an everlasting covenant with me.
How does David describe this covenant with God?
  • God's agreement is arranged and guaranteed in every detail. (verse 5b)
  • He will ensure David's safety and success. (verse 5c)
David confessed that his house had not always ruled over God's people in righteousness and in the fear of God, thus not the fulfillment of 7:12-16. God had set up the Davidic dynasty, established the Davidic kingdom, and ensured certainty of the Davidic throne. However, the coming Messiah would establish David's kingdom forever. (MacArthur)

Are you a part of God's family, His child? Jesus Christ has made the arrangements for us by providing Himself as the sacrifice required in order to enter heaven-perfection and a blood sacrifice. He has guaranteed in every detail, given us His promises. He will bring us through this life safely and we will succeed. Maybe our success is not according to worldly standards, but if our life is lived by God's standards and in His will, then we are successful!

All I can do is take His hand and walk on this country road of faith, following in His footprints, one more day, a step at a time.


Stop focusing on the world's standards for my life, judging my success by them.

Focus on Jesus' life and God's standards.

Hold onto His guarantees-light, strength, courage, hope, salvation, heaven.

Sing praises to my wonderful Savior!

Follow Jesus, one step at a time by faith.

Friday, April 22, 2016

What Do You Need?

O. T. #741  "What Do You Need?
April 22, 2016
2 Samuel 22-Part 2


David sang this song to the LORD on the day that He rescued David from all his enemies and from Saul. Besides David declaring the Lord was his Rock, in verses 2-3, God is his:
  • fortress, which refers to a castle, to defend, a fort, a strong hold, a strong place. Are we distressed? Let us find our safe place in God.
  • deliverer, which means to slip out, carry away safe, cause to escape. God delivered David from Goliath, Saul, backsliding, Israel's enemies, Absalom, and his own sinful passions.
  • shield, referring to a protector, buckler, defense, armed. Are we being shot at, struck down?
  • the horn of salvation; In Luke 1:69, after months of silence, Zechariah named his son John, and prophesied of a coming Savior who would redeem His people.
  • high tower; God placed David out of the reach of his enemies. Are we being pursued?
  • refuge, which is  retreat, a fleeing, a way to flee, escape. When we are tempted, God will provide a way of escape, if we only turn to Him. Are we oppressed? God seeks to rescue us out of the hand of those that seek our ruin.
  • saviour (yasha') means to be open, wide, or free; to be safe; get victory. Jesus saves us and sets us free from the power of our sins and their eternal effects.
  • stay is a protector or sustenance. (verse 19) Are we sinking? God wants to be our support. 
  • lamp refers to a light, candle. (verse 29) God wants to show us the way.
Who is God to you? How have you experience Him in your life? God wants us to experience Him being these in our life when we are in need.


In verse 4, David says God is worthy of praise.

The LORD lives! Praise to my Rock! May God, the Rock of my salvation, be exalted! (verse 47)

How does God react?
  • God heard David's cry for help from His sanctuary and it reached His ears. (verse 7)
  • God showed His anger in an earthquake, smoke, flames, glowing coals, from the heavens, in brightness, thunder lightning lashes because of David's enemies. (verses 8-16)
  • God delivered David because He delighted in him. (verse 20)
  • He rescues the humble. (verse 28)
  • God gives David strength to crush an army and to scale any wall. (verse 30)
  • God is faithful, has integrity, is pure. (verses 26-27)
  • His ways are perfect. (verse 31)

Realize that I have to let go and let God handle things and people.

Praise God, love God, exalt my God!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rocks and The Rock

O. T. #739  "Rocks and The Rock"
April 21, 2016
2 Samuel 22
The LORD is my rock...  2 Samuel 22:2


Rocks in the flower bed, rocks in the pasture, rocks in the fence line, rocks on the hillside. Boy, do we ever have rocks here on our farm. In fact, there is a pile of rocks that Dad picked up here throughout his lifetime, but did not collect them all. Rocks are everywhere still.
Another place I encounter rocks on my dirt, country road. Yes, I have stumbled over them more than once while taking my mile walk. Sometimes we encounter rocks in our life that cause us to stumble spiritually. When we stumble, and even fall down into sin, Jesus is there holding out His hand to pick us up, forgive us, and strengthen us to walk on by faith.

Of the six sections of the epilogue, we have read about the first two-the Lord's judgment against Israel and David's heroes. Now in chapter 22 we read the third. These are not in chronological order, but give accounts in David's life at various times.

III. David's Song of Praise

The loss of a son, suffering in famine, and a misery of battle all wear on him until David begins to crack. This weary David lifts his hands to God and declares his feelings in a song, which covers no less than 51 verses. (Swindoll)

Now, this chapter is almost identically written in Psalm 18, also. Evidently, they were song to the LORD on the day He rescued David from all his enemies and from Saul.

Charles Swindoll, in his book David, A Story of Passion and Destiny, explains four themes or expressions of David here:
  1. When times are tough, God is our security. (verses 2-20) David describes his God as a secure Father-his rock, fortress, deliverer, refuge, shield, horn of salvation, stronghold. The Lord delights in us. He sees and cares about what is happening in our lives the very moment.
  2. When our days are dark, the Lord is our only light. (verses 21-31) He gives just enough light so that we can see to take the next step.
  3. When our walk is weak, the Lord is our only strength. (verses 32-40) When ties are tough, the Lord sees us through. God is never stronger in His work than when we are, admittedly, weak. Life Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 12:7-10, God grace is sufficient.
  4. When our future is foggy or fuzzy, the Lord is our only hope. (verses 50-51) He becomes hope in our uncertainty and security in our confusion. The Lord will show lovingkindness to His anointed and even take care of their descendants forever.


Whom have we Lord, but Thee?
When our times are tough, our days are dark, our walk is weak, and our future is foggy or fuzzy, whom have we but You, Lord?

David reveals the characteristics of God in his life-the Rock is mentioned first.
When my world is shaken, is God my Rock? The ground can shake and shift, even open up with an earthquake or flow up with a volcano as well as uncertain like sand. However, a gigantic rock does not move.
David often hid himself in a rock (1 Samuel 24:2), but God was his chief hiding place. (Matthew Hery)

Rock, in the Hebrew language, is used as two words with two meanings. Found in verse 2, rock means to be lofty (fortress), stone, strong hold; in verse 3 it means a cliff, a sharp rock, a refuge, strength.

I have seen some huge lofty rocks and cliffs. Standing on the Smoky Mountains, I could see for miles. In fact, there is a town in the Rocky Mountains named "Rock Bottom" and it surely is, sitting below and between parts of the mountains. We live in the Ozark Mountains, but do not realize it until we start our descend driving down the mountains. Cliffs on the California coast are rather high, right my California friends? Huge boulders are found in Vermont. I realize those mountains' composition  is just rocks.

David said that God is his Rock. How big is our God, the Rock? Is He as big or bigger than Mt. McKinley, which is 20,320 ft. tall in Alaska? Or the Rocky Mountain Range which stretches over 3,000 miles? Uh, I think He is bigger than those. He is bigger than the earth, our universe, and our galaxy. Because He is everywhere, can He really be measured?

Now, looking in the New Testament, there were several verses which mention the Rock:
  • The one the wise man built his house upon, which kept his house from falling down when the rain and storms came. (Matt. 7:24)
  • Jesus built His church upon the rock-the Truth of Jesus, which Peter knew. (Matt. 16:18)
  • Jesus is the stone  Isaiah mentions in 28:16-a sure foundation, a tried stone, a precious corner stone. Whoever believes on Him, Jesus the Rock, shall not be ashamed.
  • In Moses time, the Israelites drank from the Spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock is Christ. (1 Cor. 10:4)
Also, David declares God is the rock of his salvation. There is nothing changing concerning our salvation. Once we are saved, Jesus keeps us saved. Also, we cannot save our self, so our saving strength is in Jesus and from Jesus alone. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

In his book, The Ultimate Guide to the Names of God, Elmer Towns gives us more insight:
The name Rock is only one of several strength names for God in the Old Testament. One strong name for God is Tsur (pronounced tsoor) in Hebrew, is Rock. For those in the Near East traveling near the desert, a rock was noted as a fortress or a place of protection. Large rocks in the Palestine area found protection and refuge from the attack of wild beasts and the scorching sun.

Dear ones, when our life is crumbling, falling apart, rolling us down a mountain, shaking us up, blowing up in our face, our Rock Jesus Christ, is steadfast and immovable-The Rock. He can take our broken pieces and put them back together again, making our life beautiful for His glory. So come to the Rock that is higher than us.


When I stumble and fall into sin, reach to the Rock Jesus..


Stand on the Rock of Ages, safe from all the storms that rage.

Run to my Rock of Refuge for protection, comfort, strength.

Make the foundation of my life the Word of God and His Salvation in Jesus, my Rock that is higher than I.

Stand firm on the Word of God, which remains forever.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Battles and Heroes

O. T. #738  "Battles and Heroes"
April 20, 2016
2 Samuel 21-Part 2


We talked about the first of the six accounts of the matters pertaining to David's life-The Lord's Judgment Against Israel. These appeared in the last four chapters of 2 Samuel, although these are not in chronological order.

II. The Account of David's Warriors

This section describes Israel's defeating of the four giant Philistines.
The Hebrew term for giant  is the word  raphe (raw-faw'), which means invigorating, giant.

David became weak and exhausted. Swindoll gives us three reasons for it:
Absalom's death after conspiracy to kill David, a 3 year famine, the Philistines were at war with Israel again.

Who wouldn't feel exhausted after all David had experienced? A person can only take so much. Loss of a son, famine, and war would be enough to get most people down, wouldn't it? What kind of things cause us to become spiritually exhausted? Where do we turn when we become exhausted?


Here are David's heroes, who killed the four giants of Gath:
  1. Ishbibenob, using a 7 pound bronze spearhead and a new sword, cornered David to kill him. Abishai came to David's rescue and killed the giant. David's men declared, "You are not going out to battle with us again! Why risk snuffing out the light of Israel?"
  2. Another battle at Gob occurred against the giant Philistines. Shibbecai killed Saph, another descendant of the giants.
  3. In another battle at God, Elhanan killed the brother of Goliath of Gath. His spear handle was as thick as a weaver's beam.
  4. During the fourth battle at Gath, the Israelites encountered a giant with 6 fingers on each hand and 6 toes on each foot. He was killed by Jonathan, David's nephew.
(This account is also recorded in 1 Chronicles 20:4-8.) It was when David became weak and exhausted that these men took over, interceded for their king, protected them and defeated the enemy-giants.

Do you ever become exhausted spiritually as you face the enemies day in and day out? Do you have Christians who will intercede for you, defeating your giants through intercessory prayer?
Are you a prayer warrior for your Christian brothers and sisters, pastor?


When things become too heavy, too hard, too overwhelming, turn to Jesus.

Let Him handle the opposition, the enemy, all things.

Intercede for those that are doing spiritual battle.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Wrong Road

O. T. #737  "The Wrong Road"
April 19, 2016
2 Samuel 21
,,,but they did not consult the LORD.  Joshua 9:14


How many times have I jumped in the car and driven where I wanted to go, headed on the wrong road, figuratively speaking? Decisions made on my own without consulting the Lord and His will and way head me down the road toward disaster. Yep. Been there too many times. But the Lord is gracious, and puts a detour sign up and turn me around. It is painful, but His purpose is accomplished. David had to make a painful decision due to Saul being on the wrong road.

The last 4 chapters are not given in chronological order as they occurred in the Bible. Apparently, the author wanted to include these matters in David's life, so he placed them at the end of 2 Samuel.

The MacArthur Bible Commentary explains further:
There is a striking literary arrangement of the sections in this division of the book. First and last sections (21:1-14; 24:1-25) are narratives that describe two occurrences of the Lord's anger against Israel. The second and fifth sections (21:15-22; 23:8-39) are accounts of David's warriors. The third and fourth sections (22:1-51; 23:1-7) record two of David's songs. 
So what is the big deal about this section of  this book in the Bible? How does it apply to us?
What can we gain from these matters that occurred in David's life?

Well, in looking at my own life, I can see there are sections, if I may call them that. However, these sections can be divided in various ways. The most important would be my spiritual growth:
  • Studying the Word of God has brought answers to my questions. When we call on Him, He answers.
  • I have experienced God's provisions in times of need. Ask and we will receive.
  • As I encountered various problems, trial, and challenges, I have seen God work them out and experienced His walking with me through them. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
  • Experiencing God's faithfulness and solutions has increased my faith and trust in Him, for He is trustworthy.
  • Learning to submit to God's will and ways instead of mine has been a lifetime lesson for me. He knows best. No one can thwart His will.
  • Faith and obedience is what God is looking for in us. They are better than sacrifice.
  • When I fail and sin, He forgives. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • His love never fails. His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.
What life lessons have you learned in your walked with Jesus?
It is always good to look back and see all those things God has taught us and brought us through. He can put up road blocks to turn us around and follow Him. How about you, friend? What has God brought you through?


Section I. The Lord's Judgment Against Israel

This event occurred between chapter 9, where David showed kindness to Mephibosheth, and chapter 16, before Shimei's cursing of David. There was a famine which lasted 3 years during David's reign as king. So David sought the Lord as to the reason for the divine discipline.

What did he find was the cause of the famine? Saul and his family were guilty of murdering the Gibeonites. Well, wasn't Israel directed to wipe out all those occupying the Promised Land? Saul was only ridding the land of heathens, right? It was actually a serious sin. To get a better perspective, we need to look back in Joshua 9, some 400 years earlier.

The Lord was giving success after the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River, at Jericho. Several kings united in their efforts to defend their land after hearing of this. However, the people of  Gibeon resorted to deception in order to save themselves. They sent ambassadors to Joshua, appearing to have been traveled a long distance. They asked for a peace treaty. The Israelites didn't consult the Lord and made such a covenant with the Gibeonites-Israel would not attack their towns and the Gibeonites would be servants of Israel who cut wood and carried water for God's house.

So Saul and his family had broken this covenant made with the Gibeonites and before the Lord. (They claimed Saul planned to destroy them so they would not have place in Israel's land. Money was not going to settle the matter.)  They wanted 7 sons of Saul handed over to them for execution. So David handed over two sons of Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth (not Jonathan's son), whose mother was Rizpah. Included were the 5 sons of Saul's daughter Merab.  All 7 were executed by the men of Gibeon on the mountain before the Lord.
This would have been a symbolic representation of the Gibeonite dead. (Holman)

Rizpah, the mother of two of the executed men, stayed with the bodies of her sons to prevent scavenger birds and wild animals from mingling them. When David learned of her actions, he brought the bones of Saul and Jonathan from Jabesh-gilead (who had stolen them from the Philistines) and the bones of the 7 men executed by the Gibeonites, then buried them in a tomb of Kish, Saul's father, at the town of Zela in the land of Benjamin.

Now why did I tell all of that? Verse 14 says, After that, God ended the famine in the land.

Do we have a famine in our land? Is it the lack of spiritual food from the Word of God? Are we choosing to neglect our covenant with God when we get saved-to surrender to His Word and His ways for living? Do people realize how serious it is to break our covenant made with Jesus' blood?

Are we making an effort to bring folks back to God and His house of worship who have stayed away?


Consult God before jumping in on a decision and going down the wrong road.

Recognize the road blocks God puts in my way to turn me around.

Stay on the road of faith.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Rebellious Enemies

O. T. #736  "Rebellious Enemies"
April 18, 2016
2 Samuel 20-Part 3
The trouble they make for others backfires on them. Psalm 7:16 NLT


This is my third year to be the director of our Vacation Bible School. It takes everyone on our team to make it a successful one. I am so thankful for all who have served and will serve this year. I couldn't do it without them, this I know. I feel that I am there to serve them as they work for God in sharing His Word and love with the children and youth. When all are in their right place of service, God honors it.
After the end of Sheba's revolt, David established his second administration, of which we will look.

Reviewing, Joab's men attacked the city of Abel, it looked as though they would destroy it. The city of Abel was located in the extreme northern part of Israel near Dan. (They were pursuing Sheba, who lead the revolt against King David in Israel, and found refuge inside.) 
However, a  woman of the city stopped it with her wise words and unusual plan-Sheba's head was thrown over the city wall. The siege was called off once Sheba was killed. Everyone returned to their homes and Joab went back to Jerusalem.

Psalm 7 is inserted between chapters 20 and 21, in The One Year Chronological Bible, NLT. David had some encouraging things to say for us. They are too good to pass by:
  • David came to his God for protection. (verse 1)
  • He believed God could save him from his persecutors. (verse 1) 
  • If David had done wrong, was guilty of injustice, betrayed a friend, plundered an enemy without cause, then he relented for God to allow his enemies to capture him. (verse 3)
  • He asked God to stand against the fury of David's enemies, to rule over and judge the nations. (verses 6-7)
  • David knew that his righteous God looked deep within the mind and heart. (verse 9b)
  • He proclaimed God as his shield, saving those whose hearts are true and right. (verse 10)
  • God is an honest judge. (verse 11)
  • If a person does not repent, God will prepare His deadly weapons and shoot His flaming arrows. (verses 12-13)
  • The troubles that the wicked make for others backfires on them. The violence they plan falls on their own heads. (verse 16)
  • David declares that he will thank the LORD because He is just; he will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High. (verse 17)
When God gets ahold of David's enemies, they are caught by their hair, stabbed in the heart and the gut, and have their head cut off.  Rebellion against God's anointed does not pay.

Friend, do you have any enemies? Are there those who try to shoot down the good you are trying to do for the work of the Lord? Who do you consider a discourager to you? It is very difficult, but we must allow God to protect us from them and treat them justly. We are to let Him take revenge, not us. In fact, Jesus told us to pray for our enemies and those who despitefully use us.

Is God your protector, Righteous Judge, shield, just, the One to whom we sing praises? Is He your Most High God, El Shaddai?

I will sing of Your love forever, Lord God. I will thank Jesus for all He has done for me, and for His salvation to me.


With the rebellious ones, Absalom and Sheba gone, it was time for things to get back to normal. Now in verses 23-24, we read of a list of David's second administration. David's kingdom became so great, not due to his abilities alone, but he knew how to assemble an effective team. (Guzik)
His officers included:
  • Joab was commander over all the armies of Israel, although he gained the position because he had committed murder. Joab regained his position, which he retained until he participated in Adonijah's rebellion (1 Kings 1-2).
  • Benaiah became captain of the king's bodyguard.
  • Adoniram was in charge of the hard labor force. He was a member of a special group of mighty men called "the Thirty." (23:24) He had been faithful to David during Absalom's rebellion. Later he established Solomon as king and eventually replaced Joab. Adoniram was overseer f building projects such as highways, temples, and houses by the forced labor of subjugated (conquered) peoples. 
  • Jehoshaphat was the royal historian.
  • Sheva was the court secretary.
  • Zadok and Abiathar were the priests.
  • Ira was David's personal priest, chaplain. He assisted David in matters of private worship, but not replacing the Torah.
[Resources: Life Application Study Bible, The MacArthur Bible Commentary, The Jeremiah Study Bible, Holman Illustrated Bible Commentary]


Trust God to take care of my enemies His way, not mine and in His time.

Praise God through my songs.

Thank God or being my God.

Keep my heart true and right.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Peace Loving and Faithful

O. T. #735  "Peace Loving and Faithful"
April 15, 2916
2 Samuel 20-Part2
I am one who is peace loving and argument, asking advice at the town of Abel.  2 Samuel 20:18 NLT


We encounter a peace loving and faithful woman in Israel in our reading today. Can we describe our self with those words? (Grant it, there are times we must take a stand against sin and wrong.) Are we peacemakers, trying to settle disputes before they get blown out of proportion? Jesus said as part of the beatitudes, "Blessed are the peacemakers."

David didn't even make it back home before another revolt occurred. Sheba the troublemaker persuaded the men of Israel to return home, deserting David. Then David arrived at his palace and he took charge:
  • He sent Amasa to assemble the men of Judah to him within 3 days, and be there himself. (verse 4). Amasa has been a former general in Absalom's army. He was appointed by David as his commander as a conciliatory move. 
  • Scripture says that Amasa took longer than the appointed time. (verse 5) Time was of the essence in order to resolve another civil war, but Amasa must not have grasped that. Anyway, this incompetent military man wasn't up for the job.
  • David was tire of waiting on Amasa and spoke to Abishai, Joab's brother, saying that Sheba was going to hurt them more than Absalom did. He told Abishai to take his personal guard   and chase after him before Sheba gets into a fortified town where they can't reach him. (verse 6)
Tribal jealousies were threatening the stability of David's reign by giving Sheba an opportunity to rebel. (Life Application Study Bible)

How sad it is when people cannot get along due to jealousy. Why can't we recognize it as Satan's ploy to divide us? Before a civil war breaks out in our situation, we need to try to resolve differences before they become blown out of proportion. Seeking Jesus' solution can help us in this department.


What happens next?
  • Abishai and Joab's men, with the king's bodyguards (the Kerethites and Perlethites), and all the mighty warriors set out after Sheba. (verse 7)
  • Amasa and his troops met up with Abishai and Joab with their men at Gibeon. Joab was not in charge, although he was wearing his military tunic with a dagger strapped to his belt.
  • When Joab stepped forward to greet Amasa with a traditional kiss on the cheek, and grabbed his beard, his dagger fell to the ground. Now this may have been a plot of Joab's to commit murder again. (Referring to Absalom)
  • Amasa didn't notice Joab's dagger in his left hand and Joab stabbed him in the stomach.
  • The men left Amasa there in his pool of blood with insides gushing out. (Sorry for the gory details) Joab saw men stopping to stare so he pulled Amasa off the road into a field and threw a cloak over him.
  • Everyone then went to pursued after Sheba.
  • Sheba was prepared for the battle-his own clan gathered for battle with Sheba at a certain town.
  • Joab's forces built a siege ramp against the town's fortifications and began battering down the wall.
Then, a wise woman, probably a judge, from the town of  Abel had a talk with Joab. Scripture describes her as a peace loving and faithful one in Israel. She offered peace instead of war and a solution to this battle instead of destruction of her town. Joab told her he didn't want to destroy her town, but he wanted Sheba, who revolted against King David. If she handed over this man, they would leave in peace. The woman promised to throw Sheba's head over the wall to Joab.
Yes, you read it right. When this wise woman told her people of her advice, they cut off Sheba's head and threw it out to Joab.

It was over, finished. Joab blew his horn and all the troops stopped attacking and returned home. Joab returned to King David. Joab was then made commander of the army of Israel.


Be a peace loving and faithful person.

Be a peacemaker, helping others settle disputes.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

When the Tables are Turned

O. T.#734  "When the Tables are Turned"
April 14, 2016
2 Samuel 20


Just when we think things are going good and we relax, wham! The tables are turned on us. I have found that it is usually folks close to us that turn the tables on us. Our supporters turn against us and we stand in shock, unable to believe they would do such a thing to us. How do we react? Do we continue on like David?

Now skip down to verse 3 of chapter 20.When David returned to Jerusalem, he put his concubines in seclusion, to a life of abstinence because of their sexual relations with Absalom (16:21-22). Absalom, David's own son, who lead a revolt against him, raped David's concubines in public view to show his replacing the king. David provided for those women's needs were met, but they lived like a widow until they died.
Through this we can see how  our sins often have horrible effects on others. (Guzik)

Do people stop and consider what kind of effect their actions (especially sinful) can have on others? Probably not. When people are living for the flesh, for their self, they aren't thinking of others.
How will this effect our reputation, our church, our family?  How do we react when our tables are turned upon us? Do we respond with forgiveness and love or revenge? Something to think about before the incidence occurs.

Instead of striking back, ask God to take your case, bring justice, and restore your reputation. (Life Application Study Bible)


Then the men of Israel showed jealousy toward the men of Judah when Israel wasn't invited to escort David back to his reigning city. Now a man named Sheba, of the tribe of Benjamin, (Israel) comes on the scene. He turns the tables on David. Who is this troublemaker (NLT), a wicked man (LASB), a worthless person (Liberty Bible Commentary), probably a leader among the Benjaminite delegation appointed to escort David to Jerusalem (Holman Illustrated Bible Commentary). This is the only account of Sheba being mentioned. He must have been a person of considerable power and influence to raise so sudden a revolt; Sheba belonged to Saul's tribe. He sought to overturn David's authority in Israel. He let jealousy get the better of him and made a mess of things. His influence is seen here.

Sheba blows the ram's horn and called the people of Israel to break off their support of David. In the heat of the moment, it must have seemed to be the right thing for the Israelis to do, because they deserted David. However, it was not the right thing to do.

David Guzik gives 3 principles common to rebels:
  1. Sheba denied the king's sovereignty, claiming David had no right to reign over him or the 10 tribes of Israel.
  2. Sheba devalued the king's identity. David's father Jesse was only a humble farmer, and Sheba emphasized David's humble beginnings.
  3. Sheba decided to go his own way an drew others with him. He acted on his low opinion of David. 
As Judah demonstrated loyalty to their king, so should we remain loyal to Jesus in spite of the mocking of others, the rebellion of the flesh, and even when He seems distant from our situation.

It seems that the disloyalty of the north continued as long as Sheba lived.  (MacArthur)


Lay my case before God, pouring my heart out.

Ask Him to bring justice.

Allow God to handle those who turn the tables on me.

Trust God to restore my reputation and relationships.

Let Him heal my hurting heart.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Showing Appreciation

O. T. #733 "Showing Appreciation"
April 12, 2016
2 Samuel 19-Part 4
"Come across with me and live in Jerusalem," the king said to Barzillai. "I will take care of you there."  2 Samuel 19:33


Our church is showing appreciation to our former youth director this weekend. He has had to step down from this position due to the return of cancer. For several years now he has taken kemo treatments off and on. He has so touched many lives through the ten years or so of his service. Since he has worked in the local school system, more young lives have been influenced for the Lord Jesus than we can count. So we wanted to allow these folks to show their appreciation and love to this great man of faith while he is living. What a weekend it will be! (Not only has Donnie served on staff with my husband, but we went to high school together, also. We attended our home church together before we surrendered to the ministry. He and his sweet wife are dear to us.) Please pray for them as they travel this very difficult road of faith.
David took time to show his appreciation to an elderly man in today's lesson. Wonder who it is? Come on and join me.

Have you noticed that King David was greeted and escorted by several on his return to Jerusalem? There was Shimel the stone thrower, who was spared, Mephibosheth, who was restored, and now the rewarding of faithful Barzillai.
Who was Barzillai?
  • Barzillai was one of the 3 friends to greet David and his supporters who provided them with food, drinks, and mats. (17:27)
  • He was compassionate and supportive of a king on the run for safety from Absalom. He knew his king and men were hungry, thirsty, and tired. 
  • Barzillai was very old (80) and very wealthy.
  • David invited him to join him in Jerusalem to live and he would take care of Barzillai.
Have you noticed one thing about David-he shows appreciation to those who have helped him along the way in his life. We should follow his example.

Barzillai declined the great offer of his king. He said that due to his age, he no longer enjoyed anything. Food and wine were no longer tasty; singers were hard for him to hear; he considered himself as a burden to his king. He wanted to return home to die. However, this man requested that David allow his son, Kimham, to go with David and receive whatever David wanted to give him.
So David blessed Barzillai, kissed him, and the old man returned home while his son accompanied David.

This shows us that we can be useful in kingdom work no matter how old we are. Now we have no excuse.
Shall we look for someone to whom we can show our appreciation today?
Jesus promises to provide for His children. Are we trusting in Him to do so?


In the rest of this chapter we read of an argument over the king. Tension between the tribes and Judah existed earlier in their history has now surfaced. This sounds like two brothers quarreling over a toy, doesn't it?
  • You stole the king so we didn't get the honor of helping take David, his household, and his men across the Jordan. (Israel)
  • The king is one of our own kinsmen. Why should this make you angry? We haven't eaten any of the king's food or received any special favors. (Judah)
  • since there are 10 tribes in Israel, we have 10 times the right to the king as you do. Why do you despise us? Weren't we the first to speak of bringing him back to be our king again? (Israel)
  • The argument was ended with the words of the men of Judah were harsher than those of the men of Israel.
Do you hear pride and jealousy speaking up? The men of Judah answered the men of Israel instead of letting King David answer them.
David united the nation geographically, but not morally. Their quarrel escalated into Sheba's revolt in chapter 20. (D. Jeremiah)

David had previously been king over both Judah and Israel (other tribes). Oh brothers! What is the big deal? What does it matter who escorted King David back over the Jordan River into Jerusalem? Apparently it did with these men. Where is the David? Why did he not speak up and resolve this argument? Sometimes not intervening has bad results. Are you a peace maker?


Don't hold onto grudges.

Live peaceably with all people.

Show appreciation of people while they are living.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Accepting or Complaining?

O. T. #732  "Accepting or Complaining?"
2 Samuel 19-Part 3
Give him all of it. 2 Samuel 19:30 NLT


So many times children today argue with their parents over their decision. They complain when they don't get their way. They should be accepting it because parents love them and know best for them. do we accept or complain when we know God's decision? Even when it is a "no"? Read on to find out how Mephibosheth reacted whenever his inheritance was divided with a lying scoundrel.

David crossed over Jordan before he entered Jerusalem. He was greeted by Shimel, the stone thrower, to whom David showed mercy and forgiveness. HIs life was spared that day, for the law said he deserved death.

Who else came to greet David? The second greeter was Mephibosheth,
What do we know happened concerning Mephibosheth?
  • He became crippled at age 5 when a nurse dropped him as she ran to safety.
  • He was the son of David's best friend, Jonathan, and former King Saul's grandson, the one who was next in line to be king after their death, but God appointed David instead.
  • David did not kill Mephibosheth, obviously, but welcomed him to eat at the king's table.
  • David had previously given the land of inheritance of Saul's family to this one, before Absalom took over as king of Israel.
  • After David and his family and supporters left Jerusalem, Ziba, who was one of Mephibosheth's servants, lied to David when asked where Mephibosheth was, saying he stayed in Jerusalem to get back the kingdom of his grandfather Saul. (chapter 16)
  • So David believed Ziba and gave him all that Mephibosheth owned.
  • Now Mephibosheth has the gall to show up to greet David? But of course he does, for Mephibosheth is a loving, loyal supporter of David. 
  • His loyalty was evident when Mephibosheth did not care for his feet, trim his beard, nor wash his clothes since the day the king left Jerusalem. These were signs of mourning David's departure.
  • Why had Mephibosheth not gone with David?
  • The truth is revealed-Ziba did not provide him with a donkey as Ziba was supposed to have done, betraying and slandering him saying Mephibosheth refused to come.
  • Do what you think is best King David, for you are like an angle of God. All his relatives could only have expected death, but David honored him by allowing him to eat at David's table. What more could he ask of his king?
How does this relate to us believers in Jesus? We were crippled by sin's grip on our life, but God in His mercy and grace saved our lost soul through the blood of Jesus. We don't deserve heaven, but Jesus will one day welcome us into our new heavenly home.


David is in a dilemma-he already gave away Saul's estate to Ziba because of his lie. What will he do now that he found out Mephibosheth was actually a supporter of his? Mephibosheth trusted in David's discernment and knew he deserved none of David's grace.

David 's decision on the matter of who should own Saul's estate was a compromise-the two men divided the land equally between them. Mephibosheth told David to give Ziba all of it, for he was content just to have David safely back again. This noble-hearted and unselfish man was content to have his friend the king back with him. This whole questionable matter remained unanswered. We do not read of Mephibosheth arguing or disputing the king's decision, but he accepted it.

As Christians we should have no jealousy and lies in our life. David needed discernment to know Mephiboshth was the one telling the truth. Can we tell when people are lying to us or telling the truth?

God's grace is enough for us. Do we accept or complain about God's ways? We can trust that God makes no mistakes. He knows all things. He does what is right.


Go to the King and sincerely confess my sins and my not deserving mercy.

Have faith in King Jesus to make the right decisions in my life.

Accept without complaint...

Friday, April 8, 2016


O. T. #731  "Smilers"
April 8, 2016
2 Samuel 19-Part 2
"My lord the king, please forgive me," he pleaded. 
Your life will be spared.  2 Samuel 19:19, 23


So King David started on his return back to Jerusalem. How was he greeted?
  • When he arrived at the Jordan River, the people of Judah came to Gilgal to meet him and escort him across the river.
  • Shimei, the stone thrower in chapter 16, hurried across with the men of Judah to welcome their king. What? The man who was so ugly to David, calling him murderer and scoundrel is wisy-washy now as he crosses the river. Trying to save his hide, that's what he's up to. don't you agree. After all, the king had the power to say, "Off with his head."
  • A thousand other men from Shimei's tribe of Benjamin were with him.
  • Also accompanying Shimei was Ziba, the chief servant of Saul's house, along with Ziba's 15 sons and 20 servants.
  • These all rushed down to the Jordan to meet the king. They crossed the shallows of the Jordan to bring the king's household across the river, helping him in every way they could.
How we greet people lets them know what lies ahead, whether it be at our front door, to begin a dreadful meeting, in store, on the street, or in a church.

Ann Voskamp, a gifted best seller book author and internet writer, said these words on her website, A Holy Experience, "We need more grinners, winkers, laughers, smilers to go walk the streets. Smiling at anyone is to awe at the face of God."

Are you up for a challenge today, friend? Think I am going to smile at everyone I meet today, and even go further and give them a hello. If each of us did this, could our communities, states, and nation be changed? What if we said thank you a hundred times today? Could that simple sincere act, which costs us nothing monetarily, change us and those we encounter? What could happen with only a simple smile? Attitudes would change, huh? Our environment could be pleasant, right? Wouldn't this be pleasing to God? (If I knew how to send a big happy face from my phone to you, I would:)


It was time to pick up the pieces after the battle was over. David couldn't afford to alienate any of the tribes as he worked on gathering the fragments of his kingdom of the various tribes of Israel. How did David do this? He showed mercy and kindness, especially to those who had opposed him, joined sides with Absalom, and became David's enemy. Let's check them out.

First, there was Shimei. He fell down before the king as David was about to cross the river.
Shimei confessed:
  • his need of David's forgiveness by calling him my lord the king;
  • asking David to forgive the terrible thing he had done when David left Jerusalem, referring to the stoning;
  • seeking the king to put it out of his mind;
  • admitting he had sinned;
  • announcing that is why he was there that day, to be the very first person in all Israel to greet his lord the king.
Oh, man, talk about wishy-washy, that man was. It sounds like he was trying to save his scalp, or head.

"Shouldn't Shimei be put to death for this because he cursed the LORD's anointed?" Abishi asked. Exodus 22:28 is clear on the matter. That person was to be put to death. Although Shimei deserved death right then, David showed him mercy for a while. It was a day of celebration, not execution. David announced that he was once again king of Israel. (verse 23) David spared his life that day.
As it turns out for Shimei, later on, David advised Solomon, his son who became king, to execute Shimei in 1 Kings 2:8-9, 42-46, when he violated King Solomon's edict.

Daily we need to ask our King Jesus for mercy, right? Even throughout the day we sin and need His mercy. Do we share that mercy we receive with others? Forgive in the way we are forgiven, Jesus instructed us. How grateful are we since God spares us from Hell!!!! Although we deserve it. What love Jesus showed when He purchased our salvation through death on the cross!


Show mercy.
Smile today.
In everything give thanks.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Taking the Bitter with the Sweet

O. T. #730  "Taking the Bitter with the Sweet" 
April 7,2016
2 Samuel 19
The king covered his face with his hands and kept on crying, "O Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!" 2 Samuel 19:4
So the king went out and took his seat at the town gate, and as the news spread throughout the town that he was there, everyone went to him. 2 Samuel 19:8


Ever felt like you were stabbed in the heart, whether it was with words or actions of another, situations or events, decisions or non-decisions? We have all been there one time or another, or are there now. Welcome to life. David had to take the bitter with the sweet, as we do. When the bad times come, do we find good hidden in them?

It was a bittersweet day when King David found out his son Absalom was dead. David was overcome with emotion, and reasonably so. Victory over the rebellion against King David's reign had come to an end, but it was at a high price for David. The reality was heartbreaking; grief continued. Perhaps David was not sure of Absalom's salvation, thus he did not say, like when his infant son died earlier, "I am going to him some day." Could he realize that he was a great king but failing father?
So the king continued to weep and mourn for Absalom.

Joab heard about this. What should have been a victorious day and day of rejoicing due to their enemy's defeat, was not at all that. The battle was won, so the army should have been rejoicing.

Then Joab rebukes David because he was so grieved about the death of his son who had become his enemy and who would have killed David given the opportunity. David loved his son. Joab was responsible for Absalom's death. David may not have ever comprehended just how his son died. (J.V. McGee)

David was a man after God's own heart and found no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 33:11).

Although death is our destiny, it is not our finality. The grave does not hold victory over us believers. Jesus completely conquered death in victory, which was bittersweet for him. He provided victory over death when He rose from the grave. Now Christians, His followers, can be assured of victory over death-heaven. For where He is, there we will be also.
Do you have that assurance, sweet one?


Now back to Joab. The people heard about the king's deep grief for his son. The joy of that day's victory was turned into deep sadness. Quietly the troops returned to town that day as though they were ashamed and had deserted in battle. (Yet we do not read of Joab being ashamed of his stabbing Absalom to death.)

In verse 5 (NLT), Joab goes to the king and rebukes him saying:
  •  We saved your life and the lives of yours sons, your daughters, and your wives and concubines.
  • Yet you act like this, making us feel ashamed of ourselves.
  • You seem to love those who hate you and hate those who love you.
  • You made it clear today that your commanders and troops mean nothing to you.
  • It seems as if Absalom had lived and all of us had died, you would have been pleased.
  • Now go out there and congratulate your troops, for I swear by the LORD that if you don't go out, not a single one of them will remain here tonight.
  • Then you will be worse of than ever before.
Did David take this advice, accepting the bitter with the sweet? He needed to encourage his soldiers, though he was  down deep in grief. It was the gate where David would encourage his army, leaving the city to go to battle. The same gate where Absalom persuaded the Israelites to revolt and join him in taking over David's kingdom.
Well, after hearing all of that, what could David do but take his place at the town gate. As the news spread throughout the town of his being at the gate, everyone went to David. The public relations problem was solved. Although Joab's were  strong and blunt, they may have very well saved David his kingdom. (Several commentators shared this view.)
Can you hear the encouraging words from David's troops?

Solomon said there is a time to rejoice and a time to grieve. Which time are you living in now?
Can we give thanks for everything, in every situation? I am not saying it is easy. You may not be there yet, with a broken heart, but Jesus waits for you. Oh, how He loves you and me! His grace is sufficient for us. He can carry us through whatever valley we are going through. (I am speaking to me first.)


Take the bitter with the sweet.

Hold onto Jesus, for He is holding onto me.

Thank You Jesus for those battles and victories.

I am an overcomer with You Jesus!

Help me to take the bitter with the sweet.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Pain of Empty Arms

O. T. #730  "The Pain of Empty Arms"
April 6, 2016
2 Samuel 18-Part 2
Oh my son...  2 Samuel 18:33


I have not personally experienced loosing a child, yet we have lost grandchildren through miscarriages. Sitting here now, I can name 6 sets of parents who have lost their child as a teenager, child, or baby; several other children were adults when they passed away. I have seen the pain and anguish of a broken heart that death brings to those empty arms. David experienced it earlier in chapter 12 and now again in chapter 18. Needless to say, the pain of loosing a child is one pain that never goes away. It only subsides.
Yet the loving arms of Jesus can comfort like no other, giving hope and strength to carry on. If you have lost a child, my heart goes out to you. I am so sorry for your loss dear one. I can say nothing comforting but cling to Jesus. He is your hope of one day being with them again. Some things we will not understand until we ask our Savior the reason why it happened. Look to Jesus.

As a review, David's general, Joab, took matters into his own hands, killing Absalom, David's son, considering it for the good of the king. Since Absalom lead the revolt against the king, the battle was over with his death. They threw Absalom's body into a pit in the forest, denying him burial in his family's tomb and dishonoring him in his death.
One runner represented the bearer of good news, two runners indicated bad news. David saw two runners. Ahimaaz announced David's victory without specifically mentioning Absalom's death. Perhaps he didn't know.

It was as though Ahimaaz was a loss for words:
Today the LORD has rescued you from all those who rebelled against you. (verse 31 NLT)

There are many messengers running about today telling the human family that God says all is well-but all is not well. Man is a sinner. He needs a Savior. Man needs to know that the Son of God died on the Cross for him. Man needs to be born again.

Friend, has the Lord Jesus rescued you from your sins? Do we know others who are sinners in need of a Savior? Do we see the Lord rescuing us from those who rebell against us?


What about Absalom?

In verse 32, Cushi gently tells David about Absalom's death:
May all of your enemies, my lord the king, both now and in the future, share the fate of that young man.

The reply was not what David wanted to hear. It never is-the death of a loved one.
The kingdom was David's once again, but at a high price. Sometimes victory comes at a high price.

David's cry comes from a truly broken heart. He realizes that this is part of the judgment of God for his own sin, and his parental love would have preferred his own death to that of his son. (Falwell)

The phrase  deeply moved, found in The Jeremiah Study Bible, means literally, quaked or quivered. David grieved the loss of a son whom he loved and the loss of any hope of reconciliation with that son. Grieving is a healthy thing to do, but David's mistake was that he allowed his grief to  keep him from fulfilling his duties to the troops (19:1-8).

Five times in verse 33 David says, my son.
John MacArthur explains:
In spite of all the harm that Absalom had caused, David was preoccupied with his personal loss in a melancholy way that seems to be consistent with his weakness as a father.

Others may have seen Absalom as a bad or worthless person, yet his father loved Absalom as his child, even through the finality of death.

Letting God

Go with God through whatever valley He leads me with faith.

Trust God for all that happens, that He has a purpose for all things.

Comfort others in their loss.

Support them after the funeral with a listening ear of love.

What a time in heaven we will have when we are reunited with our loved ones! Can you only imagine?!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Left Dangling in the Air

O. T. #729  "Left Dangling in the Air"
April 5, 2016
2 Samuel 18


Do you like a good book, movie, or tv show that leaves you dangling, not revealing the ending or solving a mystery until the next show,  after a  commercial, or chapter? Today,  we will read where Absalom was left dangling, but in another manner.

Talk about drama. This book is full of drama. The revolter Absalom  took the advise from Hushai, David's spy, instead of Ahithophel, David's former advisor gone traitor. As a result, Ahithophel killed himself; time elapsed, allowing David time to get away into hiding before Absalom and his army pursued him; DAvid had time to organize his army; David was greeted in the land of Gilead by three friends providing food, cooking utensils, and sleeping mats.

Note that there are 12 proverbs in the OT that warn of children rebelling against their parents. A son or daughter who rebels against godly parents will not prosper. (D. Jeremiah)
This is illustrated in the life of Absalom.

Now David prepared for battle with his son Absalom's army by dividing his men into three troops with Joab, Abishai, and Ittali as their commander. (a customary military strategy) David wanted to go to fight with his army, but his men refused to allow it. Absalom's men were looking for David only. David's men acknowledged that David was worth 10,000 men of them, but it was better that he stayed in town and sent help if it was needed.

He was an old man by this time, and certainly his battle skills had declined. (David Jeremiah)

"If you think that's the best plan, I'll do it," the king answered. So he stood alongside the gate of the town as all the troops marched out in groups of hundreds and thousands. (Verse 4, NLT)

Do we stop to consider that our King Jesus is working the best plan in our life? Are we working alongside Him?


What was the command that David gave his commanders and army?
We find the answer in verse 5:
For my sake, deal gently with young Absalom. (NLT)

This was carried out by David's troops, but not by one of his commanders, Joab.

This civil war began in the forest of Ephraim. David's army was beating back Absalom's army, with 20,000 of Absalom's men killed. During the battle, Absalom happened to come upon some of David's men. He tried to escape on his mule, but as he rode beneath the thick branches of a great tree, his hair got caught in the tree. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air. One of David's men saw what happened and told Joab. (You will recall back in chapter 14 that Absalom only cut his thick hair once a year.)

David Jeremiah says it is poetic justice that the mischievous and prideful troublemaker ended up in such an undignified predicament.

According to New Living Translation, this happened next:
  • Joab demanded, "You saw him there and didn't kill him? I would have rewarded you 10 pieces of silver and a hero's belt!"
  • "I would not kill the king's son for even a thousand pieces of silver," the man replied to Joab.
  • All the men heard the king say, "For his sake, please spare Absalom." The man knew that if Joab and David found out who killed Absalom, they would have abandoned him. (Thus Absalom's army would have killed the man.)
  • Joab dismissed the man, took 3 daggers and plunged them into Absalom's heart as he dangled, still alive, in the great tree. (verse 14)
  • Then 10 of Joab's young armor bearers surrounded Absalom and killed him. (Really? As though he wasn't dead already.)
Joab blew the ram's horn and his men ceased chasing the army of Israel. They threw Absalom's body into a deep pit in the forest and piled a heap of stones over it. All Israel fled to their homes.

Do you recall that Judas was given 10 pieces of silver to betray Jesus? He killed himself afterwards.
Do we keep our word when we say we will do something?


Stay a faithful friend.

Remain faithful to Jesus forever.


Monday, April 4, 2016

Unmet High Expectations

O. T. #728      "Unmet High Expectations"
April 4, 2016
2 Samuel 17
When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed, he...  2 Samuel 17:23


Absalom, David's son who lead a revolt and established himself as a new king of Israel, heard two counselors-Ahithophel, former advisor of David and Bathsheba's grandfather, and Hushai, David's spy sent to advise Absalom. Now the two men gave opposite advice and plans to their new ruler.

Ahithophel wanted to take 12,000 men and pursue David and kill him. Note that he wanted to be the leader. His thinking was David's men would come back to Jerusalem and join Absalom. I suspect that Ahithophel had high expectations, maybe being established as the second in command of Israel  or top commander of the army.

On the other hand, Hushai recommended they wait, allowing time for men to come from the north and south to join Absalom's army. He then suggested Absalom personally lead his army to capture David. Hushai was rather smart in that he used Absalom's pride, egotism, and paranoia to his advantage. Absalom and the men of Israel approved Hushai's plan, giving time for David to get the word about the plan of pursuit.

You will recall that Hushai was sent to counteract Ahithophel's advice to Absalom, taking the priests Zadok and Abiathar and sons with him. They were to inform David of Absalom's plans so David could escape his death caused by his son.

What happens next?
  • Hushai told those priests about Ahithophel's advise and his advise.
  • He told the priest to quickly find David and urge him not to stay at the shallows of the Jordan River that night, but go into the wilderness beyond. Otherwise, David and his army would die. 
  • (Stay with me dear one.) Now the two guys Jonathan and Ahimaaz had been previously been established as the messengers to David and were staying in the town of En-rogel so they wouldn't be seen going in and out of the city.
  • It was arranged that a servant girl would actually take the message to King David. Sounds like a good, easy, and simple plan, right?
  • Well, a boy saw those two men in town, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, and told Absalom.
  • They quickly escaped to Bahurim, where a man hid them down inside a well in his courtyard. The man's wife put a cloth over the top of the well, then scattered grain on it to dry in the sun, so no one would suspect they were there. I call it a good cover up.
  • When Absalom's men arrived, the man's wife told them the two men crossed over the brook.
  • It was a good cover up because Absalom's men did not find them and returned to Jerusalem.
  • The two men quickly crawled out of the well and went directly to King David themselves and informed him what was going on.
Do you see how God is protecting King David? Even when the devil tries to interfere, he cannot thwart God's plans. Boy, do I need to be reminded of that. How about you?


When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey, went to his hometown, set his affairs in order, and hanged himself. Wow! Talk about having your high expectations shattered. He took it to the extreme, didn't he? Perhaps he thought Abssalom would be defeated and he would have to answer to David for his disloyalty. Similarly, Judas went out and hanged himself after he betrayed Jesus.

When our expectations are not met, when our anticipations are not met, how do we react? Hopefully, we are trusting in the Lord Jesus, always. People will let us down, but Jesus never fails.

Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! (Ps. 63:3)

In the meantime, David escaped across the Jordan River at night to Mahanaim, where he set up camp. Then Absalom and his army pursed David, crossing the Jordan.
Wait a minute. Who is Absalom's commander of his army? A man named Amasa. We have not read of him before. Who is that Amasa?
  • He replaced Joab who had been David's army commander and left with David.
  • He was the son of Abigail, who was David's sister or half-sister (1 Chron. 2:17).
  • Amasa and Joab were David's nephews and Absalom's cousin.
Talk about keeping it in the family. Keep in mind that sufficient time had passed for Absalom's army to grow large. They passed into Gilead, the high-eastern area across the Jordan.

We jump over to David and what is happening to him and his army/people. David was greeted by three friends and supporters, Shobi, Makir, and Barzillai of Gilead. They brought sleeping mats, cooking utensils, and food.

You must all be very hungry and tired and thirsty after your long march through the wilderness. (verse 29 NLT)

God continues to provide for David.
In Psalm 3, we read where David said, "But you, O LORD, are a shield around me; You are my glory, and the one who holds my head high. (NLT)

Maybe I should have started with these verses today, for they are encouraging. Are our high expectations on our self or Jesus?


Trust in God for all that I need.

When my expectations re not met, trust in my Sovereign King Jesus.

Keep the faith...

Friday, April 1, 2016

A Better Plan

O. T. #727 "A Better Plan"
April 1, 2016
2 Samuel 16-Part 4
For the LORD had determined ...the better plan...  2 Samuel 16:13


When things are not working out, going our way, do we stop to find out why? I have found that my plans are not always the best, not always the better one that God has for me. So finally, I seek what it is, then follow. Yep,

Long live the king. Under his breath, Hushai was probably saying, "King David, that is." As David's spy, Hushai, tried to gain Absalom's confidence by attempting to persuade him that he, Hushai, was on his side. He voluntarily left as David's advisor and joined Absalom's revolt, so Absalom would think. The last time we met, Ahithophel gave Absalom his first advice, which was disgraceful-sleep with the king's concubines, thus demonstrating to Israel that Absalom was reigning as king over Israel now. Absalom did follow such advice. (I was reminded that Ahithophel was Bathsheba's grandfather, who would have been an older man and should have been able to make wise decisions, but not the case.)

Now we read of Ahithophel's second advice:
  • Let him choose 12,000 men to start out after David that very night.
  • He would catch up with David while he is weary and discouraged.
  • David's troops would panic and run away.
  • Then he would only kill King David and bring all his supporters back with him.
  •  After all, it is only one man's life that you seek.
  • Then Absalom would be at peace with all the people.
This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel. Will they follow it?
What may seem to be a right decision or action may not actually be the better plan for us to follow.


Then Absalom requested that Hushai come and give his advice on the matter. First of all, Absalom informed Hushai of Ahithophel's plan. Absalom asked Hushai's opinion and whether he should follow it.
Then Hushai gave his opinion in verses 5-14:
  • He came right out and said Ahithophel made a mistake.
  • David and his men are mighty warriors; he is an experience man of war. 
  • David would be hidden in a pit or cave, not with his troops.
  • When David attacks Absalom's troops, they will panic when a few of them are killed.
  • The word will be spread that Absalom's men are being slaughtered.
  • Your bravest soldiers will be paralyzed with fear, for everyone knows what a might warrior your father is and how courageous his men are.
  • Hushai recommended Absalom wait about attacking David and his army, bring in his supporters from the north and south so his army would be as numerous as the sand.
  • He advised that Absalom personally lead his troops.
  • When they find David, they will fall upon him like the dew. None would survive the attack.
  • Even if David escaped to an Israeli town, Absalom would be informed so he could break down the walls until every stone is torn down.
Hushai was alluding to victory for Absalom either way. Whose advice did Absalom follow? In verse 14 we find the answer. Absalom and all the men of Israel  agreed that Hushai's advice was better than Ahithophel's.

For the LORD had determined to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel, which really was the better plan, so that he could bring disaster on Absalom!

In reality, Ahithoophel's plan would have been the right one for Absalom to follow, but God did not will it to be so. He was planning to defeat Absalom for David, but not Ahithophel's way.

Do we ask God what His plan is for us instead of following after our own plan/way or the advice of a friend? Do we have discernment of the better plan? Are we mighty warriors depending upon our King Jesus to bring victory His way? Are we willing to stand against the evil and the wrong? Do we refuse to walk down the wrong path? Will we seek God's better plan?


Seek God's better plan for my life and circumstances, then follow it when I know it.

Trust God for the victory and give Him the glory when it comes.

Your will,
Your way,
I pray.