Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Step up

5 Then David set out and went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of the army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him.

 6 David then asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, "Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?"
      "I'll go with you," said Abishai.
1 Samuel 26:5-6

How many of us would volunteer for a suicide mission?

That appears to be what Abishai does.

Put yourself in Abishai's shoes. Saul is in the innermost part of the circle of his troops. Abner, who is a heroic warrior and Saul's body guard, is lying right next to the king. You have to sneak through a maze of warriors, fearing that at any moment someone will wake up. If they were warriors wouldn't they be taught to sleep with one eye open to guard their king? Someone among these 3,000 has to be on watch. One bad step, whether you touch a warrior or just step on a stick and you're as good as gone!

Then, once you get to Saul, how do you get back out?

Would you volunteer for that?

I have to admit, I probably wouldn't.

Last week I watched the movie "The Kingdom", which is about suicide bombers in Saudi Arabia, who would die for their faith. After watching that I wondered what kind of faith must a person have to do that?

I started to think about Christianity in the US and wonder about the strength of our faith. To what level would we go? Ponder that a moment…how far would you go for your faith? Would you go this far:

32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned[f]; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

 39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11:32-40

That is our legacy!

Will you be the one that says "Here I am, send me"?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Been down that road

1 The Ziphites went to Saul at Gibeah and said, "Is not David hiding on the hill of Hakilah, which faces Jeshimon?"

 2 So Saul went down to the Desert of Ziph, with his three thousand chosen men of Israel, to search there for David. 3 Saul made his camp beside the road on the hill of Hakilah facing Jeshimon, but David stayed in the desert. When he saw that Saul had followed him there, 4 he sent out scouts and learned that Saul had definitely arrived. 1 Sam 26:1-4

Okay, wait a minute…did I miss something?

Haven't we been here before?

Didn't Saul make David swear he wouldn't kill him?

16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, "Is that your voice, David my son?" And he wept aloud. 17 "You are more righteous than I," he said. "You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me of the good you did to me; the LORD delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the LORD reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the LORD that you will not cut off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father's family." 1 Sam 24:16-21

So why is he back pursuing David?

Look back at this verse:

22 So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold. 1 Samuel 24:22

Notice David made an oath, but did Saul?

Saul's repentance was never deep, yeah, he confessed his sin, but he made no attempt to root it out of his heart.

I see this everyday in Christianity, we want our "get out of jail free" card but really have no desire to turn and go the other way. I watch, and you do too, as people accept His gift of grace and then go on living the same way they always have; there is no difference.

Maybe you've had the same conversation Saul did, but with God.

"Is that your voice, God?" And you wept aloud over your sin. "You are more righteous than I," you said. "You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly, I know I've sinned against you. I know of the good you did to me; I was delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. I have been your enemy. How do I get away unharmed? I can't believe the way you've treated me today. Giving me what I need, not what I deserve. I know that you must surely be king and that the whole kingdom is established in your hands. Now swear to me LORD that you will not cut off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father's family?"

Have you been there?

You've been there, but you keep doing the same ol' things that get you in trouble. You just can't shake it; you're stuck in the same old habits, routines, rut.

Don't be Saul.

When you are stuck in a rut, the only way out is a hard right turn!

Truly repent and go a different direction.

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


It's Christmas Eve, so I decided instead of continuing on in 1st Samuel I would remind us why we celebrate Christmas?

Hundreds of years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah declared the prophecy of the Messiah,
"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel."
Isaiah 7:14

Immanuel = God is with us.

Some of you may be familiar with that prophecy and may have even known what "Immanuel" means, but I'd challenge you to look at another verse about Isaiah and Jesus. I recently listened to a sermon by Francis Chan about this verse and it changed my thinking.

said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him. John 12:41

Isaiah lived hundreds of years before Christ, how did he see Him?

Not only how, but what did Isaiah see?

Here is what Isaiah saw:

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  And one called to another and said:

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!" 

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
Isa 6:1-5

Try to get rid of some the images of Jesus you've seen since you were a child and focus on this passage for a minute. Here's why, Jesus was only on the earth for a short time, He was in Heaven, came down for a short time and then went back up into His glory, where He still reigns.

That would be a much better picture of what you should have in your mind in my opinion. If we have a small view of Jesus we can get very casual about Him. We can treat Him with disrespect in our singing, serving, giving, and praying, if we have a low view of who Jesus is.

Look back at that verse; Isaiah saw him and he was sitting on a throne, He is so big his robe filled up the whole temple, and these high angels – they covered themselves from head to toe because they felt they were unworthy to look upon God, a sign of respect a sign or awe. One of those angels cried out to the others, screaming – Holy (set apart, distinct, not like us), so Holy…he was screaming so loud the foundations shook!

Think about that for a moment, the foundations shook because he was speaking so loudly about his glory. When was the last time your worship shook anything?

Can you imagine being in Isaiah's shoes at that moment. The whole place is shaking and that goes on 24/7!

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits[a] of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

   In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
"You are worthy, our Lord and God,
   to receive glory and honor and power,
   for you created all things,
      and by your will they were created
      and have their being."

Rev 4:1-11

That is who Jesus is, that is who we are speaking to. Your whole life you've been taught about Jesus being someone else, which is true, mostly, but that is just a small part of who He is.

This Christmas may we show some respect for who He is…and the fact that He got off that throne and came to be "with us"! He got off that throne and humbled himself to be with us. He got off that throne where He is and always will be worshipped 24/7 to be "with us". He was persecuted, suffered and died so we could be with Him. That's why we celebrate Christmas!

Here's the really cool thing, He notices you right now, God notices you, and says he loves you!

When God looks at your heart right now what does he see in return, reverence, awe, respect for who He is, or does he see arrogance?

When Isaiah
saw God in all His glory, it humbled him. My prayer is that through God's Word you might see Him differently and be humbled.

This Christmas join me as we give God a new respect, a new reverence for who He is; bow to someone bigger than you.

"His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace"
Isaiah 9:6

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


41 She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, "Here is your maidservant, ready to serve you and wash the feet of my master's servants." 42 Abigail quickly got on a donkey and, attended by her five maids, went with David's messengers and became his wife. 43 David had also married Ahinoam of Jezreel, and they both were his wives. 44 But Saul had given his daughter Michal, David's wife, to Paltiel [d] son of Laish, who was from Gallim. 1 Samuel 25:41-44

Whoa, what's up with that? Another wife? #3!

I think he had 7 by the time he was done.

Isn't David supposed to be a man after God's own heart?

I was tempted to just move on to the 26th chapter and not deal with this, but I won't…let's look at this.

A number of godly men in the Old Testament had more than one wife; some even had women on the side, ever hear the word concubine?

I can't find where God forbid OT men to have more than one wife. Part of "the Law" even has instructions for the man with more than one wife (Deuteronomy 21:15).

There is a verse in (Deut 17:17) which forbid a king not to have "many wives", nor too many horses or money for that matter.

In the New Testament, we find that elders must be "the husband of one wife" (1 Timothy 3:2), I even heard some argue what exactly that means. To me it's pretty simple, I shouldn't have multiple wives!

It seems to me that every time there are multiple wives mentioned in the OT problems arise. If you need an example look at the story of Jacob's two wives and two concubines, and the "family" that results; God corrected Jacob on a lot of things, but not about his wives. The nation Israel actually came from the offspring of the four "wives" (2 wives, 2 concubines) of Jacob.

In the New Testament marriage to one woman is clearly the "ideal". Paul's words in Ephesians chapter 5 make it clear that marriage was intended as a picture of the relationship of Christ to His church, and a multiple wives certainly doesn't seem consistent with that! I would challenge you to read Ephesians 1:9; 1:22; 3:3; 4:15; 5:18; 5:21-33 about marriage and see how far we have drifted anyway from the "ideal".

Here's the deal, the more I know the less I understand, especially when it comes to the OT. Try fitting Lot's offering his two virgin daughters to the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, so that they won't rape his male guests (Genesis 19:8) into our "morale" Christianity today.

I personally think we avoid such subjects in the church today because we have a hard time explaining them, and if we can't explain them then "men" will look down on us. I'm sorry I would rather serve a God who I can't explain that one that I can. Seriously, who am I to try to explain God?

I'm wondering if the church today is more concerned with morality (keeping "the Law") than the heart issue. I think Jesus harshest words were about that.

Having spent a tremendous amount of time looking at the life of David, I can't explain his actions; lying, stealing, killing, infidelity, multiple wives, etc., but you always know where his heart is.

Wow, how far have we drifted from the idea.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Our Provider

39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Praise be to the LORD, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal's wrongdoing down on his own head."
      Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife. 40 His servants went to Carmel and said to Abigail, "David has sent us to you to take you to become his wife."

 41 She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, "Here is your maidservant, ready to serve you and wash the feet of my master's servants." 42 Abigail quickly got on a donkey and, attended by her five maids, went with David's messengers and became his wife. 43 David had also married Ahinoam of Jezreel, and they both were his wives. 44 But Saul had given his daughter Michal, David's wife, to Paltiel [d] son of Laish, who was from Gallim. 1 Samuel 25:39-44

I walked into the office the other morning and Scott had taped a sheet of paper to his door that he had written "Jehovah-jireh, my provider".

Do you know who Jehovah-jireh is?

He is the God who provides.

Look at the verses above again and see how God provides.

God avenged David's insults from Nabal without David having to do anything. Wow, if we would only learn to let God fight our battles, rather than providing vengeance at our own hands.

God provided for Abigail's
"When the LORD shall deal well with my lord, then remember your maidservant." (v.31)

David did and took her as his wife. She was given an incredible opportunity to serve and contribute to the future of Israel.

God provided Abigail for David. God provided David with a very wise helper, who comes at a time of great loss for David. He has lost both his mentor Samuel and Michal, his wife, but now has a woman who he can respect and love.

God not only gave David a wife of beauty and wisdom, but also one of humility and submission.

Think about what she was giving up. She would have to leave her comfortable home to live a life in caves and deserts. Instead of being in charge of a large farm and servants, she is now the wife of a fugitive. She must know that there will be times of loneliness as David goes off to fight the Lord's battles. She would even have to endure being captured.

But, she knew Jehovah-jireh would provide; He already had!

God faithfully provides for our needs, at the time He knows we need it.

The name Jehovah-jireh
first appears in Genesis 22 when Abraham, in obedience to God's command, took his son Isaac to Mount Moriah to offer him for a burnt offering. After Abraham and son had arrived and prepared the altar, Isaac said to his father,

7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?"
      "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied.
      "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"

 8 Abraham answered, "God
himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together.
Gen 22:7-8

And that is precisely what God did: He provided a substitute to die in the place of Isaac. "And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh", meaning "the Lord will provide."

Abraham did not experience God's miraculous provision without first giving obedience to God's command.

God will provide, but will we do our part and obey?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wake-up Call

36 When Abigail went to Nabal, he was in the house holding a banquet like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very drunk. So she told him nothing until daybreak. 37 Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone. 38 About ten days later, the LORD struck Nabal and he died. 1 Samuel 25:36-38

Remember his name means fool.

He was pretending to be somebody he wasn't.

He was totally unaware of the destruction he just avoided.

He was not prepared to help the needy, but he could throw a big party.

He was happy, not because he had peace with God, but because he was drunk.

He had no idea about the ways of God and His wrath.

Sound familiar? I think it describes most of us.

Maybe it sounds familiar in another way; maybe you've heard this parable:

15Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

 16And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'

 18"Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." '

 20"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'

 21"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God." Luke 12:15-21

A fool is a person who lives without God.

A fool does not see death looming.

A fool is self centered.

A fool measures his life by possessions.

A fool loves things more than people.

A fool shows no reverence or awe towards God.

A fool shows no fear or trembling in the ways of God.

A fool is dead in so many ways!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Learning to listen

32 David said to Abigail, "Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33 May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. 34 Otherwise, as surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak."

 35 Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, "Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request." 1 Samuel 25:32-35

I'm learning.

I'm learning that God is speaking all around us, but we don't hear him.

Is it by choice?

Possibly, I think we can be afraid of what He might say, so we choose not to listen. Do you really want to know the will of God? What if it means suffering for His sake?

Most often, at least in my own life, we don't hear because of ignorance or pride, and probably both.

I first had to become aware that God still speaks, I mean come on I was raised Presbyterian, God's got a plan He doesn't need to speak to me?

Probably the hardest thing for me to get over has been my pride. As my walk with God has grown at times so has my pride.

Here's the deal, I've prided myself on getting "counsel" from people I knew walked with God. Now that's not a bad thing, but it can lead to some arrogance. How? Well, I'm limiting who God can use based on my judgment. God is sovereign and He can use anyone He feels like to carry out His plan.

Think about this, He used Moses, who was an escaped fugitive and who made all kinds of excuses as to why he was not the one God needed. He used Samson and Balaam, and even Balaam's donkey. God used Pharaoh and his hardened heart to demonstrate His power over the gods of Egypt. He used David, who was an adulterer, murderer, liar, etc. and He uses Abigail in this passage.

Here is what I'm learning, to be aware of what God is trying to say to me in every situation and through every person He brings into my life.

David's response to Abigail was praise to God because he saw God using her to guide him on the right path!

Seek Him!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Married to a fool, part 3

 26 "Now since the LORD has kept you, my master, from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, as surely as the LORD lives and as you live, may your enemies and all who intend to harm my master be like Nabal. 27 And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my master, be given to the men who follow you. 28 Please forgive your servant's offense, for the LORD will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my master, because he fights the LORD's battles. Let no wrongdoing be found in you as long as you live. 29 Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my master will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the LORD your God. But the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the LORD has done for my master every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him leader over Israel, 31 my master will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the LORD has brought my master success, remember your servant." 1 Samuel 25:26-31

Abigail not only rescues her husband Nabal, she rescues David from himself.

Abigail reminds David of his destiny, just like Jonathan did, and who he not only is, but who
he is to become.

Abigail challenges David to do the right thing so his conscience will be clear.

David knew the "law of retribution".

24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25
burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
Ex 21:24-25

20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. As he has injured the other, so he is to be injured. Lev 24:20

21 Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. Deut 19:21

But Abigail knew the punishment was greater than the crime; the shedding of blood for being insulted? She also knew the other males of the household had done no wrong and David would have to live
with that regret.

She challenged David to live to a higher standard; come to think of it so did someone else.

38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matthew 5:38-39

Just a side note, being slapped was actually a sign of being insulted.

Who is reminding you of who you are?

Who is reminding you of the promises of God?

Who is challenging you to live to a higher standard?

It might be a stranger; will you be open to letting God speak to you through them?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Married to a fool, part 2

14 One of the servants told Nabal's wife Abigail: "David sent messengers from the desert to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them. 15 Yet these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. 16 Night and day they were a wall around us all the time we were herding our sheep near them. 17 Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him." 1 Samuel 25

Abigail must have been held in high regard by this servant and he trusted her judgment. She was a woman of wealth but notice that she wasn't so proud that she couldn't listen to a lowly servant.

Do others hold you high regard?

Do you humble yourself and listen to them?

David is coming; there is no time for delay. If you are married to a fool are you indecisive?

 18 Abigail lost no time. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs [b] of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys.

Where did she get all of that? Could it be she took the stuff from the party Nabal is planning?

19 Then she told her servants, "Go on ahead; I'll follow you." But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

Really? She did all of this behind his back? Not the submissive wife, huh?

 20 As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them. 21 David had just said, "It's been useless—all my watching over this fellow's property in the desert so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good. 22 May God deal with David, [c] be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!"

 23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said: "My lord, let the blame be on me alone. Please let your servant speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. 25 May my lord pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name is Fool, and folly goes with him. But as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my master sent.

She humbles herself before David, taking the blame on herself and pleading with David not to take Nabal seriously, he's a fool. By doing this she is not only attempting to save his life, but the lives of her household.

Ok, so what about wives submitting and honoring their husbands? Well, first of all he is a fool, that is his namesake, secondly she humbled herself, becoming a scapegoat for his actions and saving his life…seems pretty submissive to me.

Do you have that kind of courage? Character?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Married to a fool

14 One of the servants told Nabal's wife Abigail: 1 Samuel 25:14

Stop and think what it was like to be married to a "fool", okay some of you just said "I don't have to think, I married one!"

I was almost a fool by rushing through this chapter! I tried to blog about it yesterday, but couldn't. I finished a post this morning, but decided not to publish it because there is so much good stuff in this chapter.

So hang on while I dig into this some more…

Monday, December 8, 2008

It’s mine

4 While David was in the desert, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. 5 So he sent ten young men and said to them, "Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name. 6 Say to him: 'Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!

 7 " 'Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing. 8 Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favorable toward my young men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.' "

 9 When David's men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David's name. Then they waited.

 10 Nabal answered David's servants, "Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. 11 Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?" 1 Samuel 25:4-11

Do you find anything unusual in this passage? Look again…still don't see it? Remember 1st Samuel is all about teaching the next generation obedience; who is being disobedient?

We've become so accustomed to it, it's seems to be the norm. Ok, I didn't see it either; I had to have help…its Nabal's response.

What's wrong with that, I mean it's his money, he earned it. You don't know what those guys will do with that money anyway.

Here's the issue, the Law of Moses insisted that some of the crop should be set aside for strangers, the poor and widows.

19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. 22
Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.
Deut 24:19-22

7 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. 8 Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: "The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near," so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10
Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.
Deut 15:7-11

By refusing to give to David and his men, Nabal was showing that he did obey God's laws.

Think about that next time you see a stranger who is in need, do you set aside something for them?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Fool

Then David moved down into the Desert of Maon. [a]
2 A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel. 3 His name was Nabal and his wife's name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband, a Calebite, was surly and mean in his dealings.
1 Samuel 25:2-3

His name was Nabal, he was called that all of his life.

Why is that important?

Well, Nabal means "fool". Can you imagine what that was like, to be called "fool" your entire life? How would it shape you?

Nabal was called it daily by his parents, friends, wife, etc. A couple of days ago I blogged about the power of our words, here is just another example. Isn't it amazing how we become what others say we are? It made Nabal who he was, surly and mean; he loved things instead of people.

Today is my 45th birthday and as I reflect on my life I realize how foolish I've been. Like Nabal for a period of my life I chased after what would make me great in the eyes of the world, but now I realize that was a "fool's folly".

These days I am honored to be called a fool; a fool for Christ!

About 4 years ago I started on a journey, it started with this verse:

18For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matt 5:18-19

These days I'm trying not to pursue the folly of the world, but learning to obey everything the Lord commands and teaching those that follow the same. By learning to die to my "old self" and being remade into His likeness I am no longer bound to the identity of the world, but living as His child.

Wisdom comes from God and walking the road a long time…I'm learning that both of those are true!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


1 Now Samuel died, and all Israel assembled and mourned for him; and they buried him at his home in Ramah. 1 Samuel 25:1

I'm not sure if you remember the very first chapter of 1st Samuel, remember Samuel's mother Hannah? Out of her misery she wept and pleaded with God to give her a son, which she named Samuel, which meant "I have asked the Lord". She vowed "if He gave her a son, then she would give him to the LORD for all the days of his life."

Samuel fulfilled his mother's vow and served the Lord "all the days of his life" and did it with integrity, courage and love for his people.

His influence was so great that it drew the land together again in a way that it had not seen in years. It all started with one woman in her misery
crying out to God.

It is so easy to just read over these verses without much thought, but put yourself in David's shoes. Imagine where his heart is right now.

Samuel was the prophet who anointed David as king, he was the man to whom David could run to when he was being pursued by Saul; he was his mentor. And now, Samuel is dead, he's gone.

Not only that David has met with his best friend Jonathan for the last time and his wife Michal has been given to another man, and David's parents, who are old, have been placed in the care of the king of Moab.

Can you imagine the loss, the grief, he must feel?

He is surrounded by 600, but no one knows the grief he feels, how all alone he feels.

If that's where you are, do what David and Hannah did, cry out to God.

9 Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
       my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
       my soul and my body with grief.

My life is consumed by anguish
       and my years by groaning;
       my strength fails because of my affliction,
       and my bones grow weak.

14 But I trust in you, O LORD;
       I say, "You are my God."

24 Be strong and take heart,
       all you who hope in the LORD.
Psalm 31

Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me;
       O LORD, be my help."

 11 You turned my mourning into dancing;
       you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
       O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.
Psalm 30

Be strong and take heart, and as He takes all things and turns them for good, remember to dance before our King!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Power of the tongue

16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, "Is that your voice, David my son?" And he wept aloud. 17 "You are more righteous than I," he said. "You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me of the good you did to me; the LORD delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the LORD reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the LORD that you will not cut off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father's family."

 22 So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold. 1 Samuel 24:16-22

Did you notice the affects of David's words?

Words can inspire or discourage, they can build up or tear down, and they can lead others to faith or turn them away. David chose his words carefully and as a result brought restoration between him and Saul.

Words are so powerful. In a matter of seconds David was able to undo a tremendous amount of rage, fear and jealousy in Saul. His words were not hollow though, they were backed up by action. David's refusal to take personal vengeance and his humility caused Saul to see not only David differently but also himself: "You are more righteous than I," he said. "You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly."

Then the remarkable admission: "you will surely be king".

The conflict between David and Saul did not end in hostility, but in humility and honor.

Do you speak words of humility, which bring honor?

Do your words melt hatred and anger?

What kind of affect are your words producing?

Monday, December 1, 2008

But, I have a right!

8 Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, "My lord the king!" When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. 9 He said to Saul, "Why do you listen when men say, 'David is bent on harming you'? 10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the LORD delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, 'I will not lift my hand against my master, because he is the LORD's anointed.' 11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. Now understand and recognize that I am not guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. 12 May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, 'From evildoers come evil deeds,' so my hand will not touch you.

 14 "Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea? 15 May the LORD be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand." 1Samuel 24:8-15

Probably not the way I would have responded. Ok, so you didn't kill Saul, but if you'll just be quiet he'll leave and go away, you'll be safe.

Isn't that the way most of us handle our conflict? Ignore it and it will go away. David gives us another pattern.

Think about the person who is your enemy right now, do you:

  • Take the opportunity to destroy them when you get the chance?
  • Do you confront them? Even when they have more "ammunition" than you?
  • Do you bow down before them?
  • Do you state your case?
  • Do you ask the Lord to fight your battles? By the way I think this battle was just as impressive as the one against Goliath.
  • Do you lift a hand or a tongue for that matter against them?
  • Do you trust God for your deliverance?

David did. This is how he treated the man who had tried to kill him multiple times.

Is your enemy more significant?

"You don't understand what they've done to me!"

I would venture to say they haven't attempted murder 6 times like Saul.

Do you treat them this way?

"No, because I have a right to get revenge."


If you are a Christ follower, then at some point you committed
your life to Christ. Because He gave His life for you, you give your life to Him. When you do that, you give Him all your needs, your hurts and your rights. You say, "God, I give You all the rights to my life." They're really His in the first place. It's just acknowledging that. He gives you, in exchange, the right to become a child of God; to have your sins forgiven; a home called heaven; and a purpose for living. So there's an exchange there. So now if you're a Christian, your rights belong to God.

Will you trust God to fight your battles?

Will you surrender everything to Him, even your rights?