The Ripple Effect

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.

August 21, 2022

This week we finished 1 Kings by reading chapters 11-22. To review, Solomon became king. He was given wisdom from God and he built the temple. 1 Kings 10:23 says, “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.”

Solomon had many weaknesses, and they were the money and women. 1 Kings 11:1-10 says, “King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.

On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.”

Thus, Solomon followed other gods because of all the women in his life, and not the one true God. 1 Kings 11:9-13 says, “The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

This is exactly what God did. He separated the kingdom as he said he would and as he prophesied to Ahijah the prophet (1 Kings 11:29-40). After Solomon reigned for 40 years he died. Rehoboam succeeded him on the throne, but not with all 12 tribes of Israel. Rehoboam only reined over the tribe of Judah and Benjamin. Another man, Jeroboam, who was Solomon’s official, was actually given the kingdom over the other 10 tribes of Israel.

So, the kingdom was split. The Israelites (10 tribes) were in the north and Judah (and Benjamin) were in the South. The rest of 1 Kings discusses different kings for each tribe. Thus far, all of the Israelite kings were evil. Rehoboam and Abijah were evil but Asa and Jehoshaphat were both good kings for Judah.

After Solomon

The Kings that reigned in Judah (and Benjamin)

Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) reigned 17 years and was evil

Abijah reigned 3 years and was evil

Asa reigned 41 years and was good

Jehoshaphat reigned 25 years and was good

After Solomon

The Kings that reigned in Israel (the other 10 tribes)

Jeroboam reigned 22 years and was eveil

Nadab reigned 2 years and was evil

Baash reigned 24 years and was evil

Elah reigned 2 years and was evil

Zimri reigned 7 days ansd was evil

Ahab reigned 22 years and was evil

What happened to these kings that caused them to become evil?

Solomon’s sin caused a ripple effect onto his son and many of the other kings that followed. He worshiped other gods, and so did other kings. He did not follow in the ways of God, and neither did others.

Our actions and decisions can have a ripple effect on others as well. That ripple can be good or not so good.

What kind of ripple effect are we having on others?

Next week we will read 2 Kings 1-12.

God’s Glory

Photo by Ming SUN on Pexels.com

August 14, 2022

This week we read 1 Kings 1-10. King David died and his son Solomon became the king. Solomon asked for wisdom and received it from God. Because he did not ask for riches or long life, God gave him riches. During his reign he built a permanent temple for God.

After Solomon built the temple, 1 Kings 8:6-7 says, The priests then brought the ark of the Lord’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and overshadowed the ark and its carrying poles. These poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the Holy Place in front of the inner sanctuary, but not from outside the Holy Place; and they are still there today. There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.

10 When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple. I think this is a beautiful picture of the LORD’s presence.

There is a new temple now that Christ has come. Once we give our lives to Christ, we become God’s temple and God lives in us. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”

John 14:16-17 says, “16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you.”

Today, if we are Christian, we have God’s presence in us. My question is this, “Does the glory of the LORD fill our temples? Do people see God through our lives?

What would someone look if God’s glory shone through them? John 15:8 says, This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Galatians 5:22-26 says, “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Is the glory of the LORD shining through your temple?

Next week we will finish 1 Kings and read Chapters 11-22.

David gives me hope.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels.com

August 7, 2022

We read 2 Samuel 11-23. In chapter 11 we see that King David sinned. His soldiers were fighting a war, and for some reason he stayed back. He looked out the window and saw a beautiful woman. He asked who she was, and even though she was married to Uriah the Hittite who was serving on the battlefield, he had Bathsheba brought to him and slept with her. He already had 7 wives and 10 concubines, but had to have one more beautiful woman.

Bathsheba then gets pregnant. The king thought he could bring her husband back from the war and he would sleep with his wife, but he only slept outside the door to honor those at war. So, King David had him put on the front line, and ultimately, he was killed. After the appropriate time of mourning, he made Bathsheba his wife.

This caused God to be angry, and David suffered the consequences of his sin. His son from Bathsheba died.

With such sin in a man’s life, how can he be called a “man after God’s heart.” Saul, the previous king, had sinned. He did not obey God, and God removed his blessing. What was the difference?

Throughout the Bible, David is praised. Jesus was called the son of David (Matthew 1:1). Acts 13:22 says, … (God) raised up for (Israel) David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.”

In 1 Kings 15:11 we read that “(King) Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as David his father had done.” Also in 2 Kings 18:3 “(King Hezekiah) did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done.”

How can David be called “a man after God’s own heart?” He committed adultery, lied, and murdered?

David loved God. He had faith in Him and we see that when he fought Goliath. David was also humble. Yes, he sinned big time, but he was humble. After he realized what he had done, he says in 2 Samuel 12:13, “I have sinned against the Lord.” David does not make excuses and does not blame. He confesses his sin to God.

He also asked forgiveness. He wrote Psalm 51 after his transgression with Bathsheba.

Psalm 51:1-12

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

The humanness of David gives me hope. He committed a terrible sin. Through his humility and love of God, he asks for forgiveness. He still paid a consequence for what he did, but God forgives him. He went down in history as a great man of God.

We can do the same through Jesus Christ.

The Bible says in Romans 3:23 “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.”

The consequences of that sin are death, both physically and spiritually. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus.”

There is good news, however. Jesus paid the full price for our sin through salvation by his death and resurrection. Romans 5:8 states, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

We receive forgiveness, salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus. Romans 10:9-10 and 13 says,
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved … For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

We all make mistakes. If you want the free gift of salvation that Christ can give, ask him to forgive you, and call on the name of the Lord. If you want someone to pray for you, please let me know.

Next week we will read 1 Kings 1-11.

Davidic Covenant

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

July 31, 2022

This week we read 2 Samuel 1-10. Chapter 7 really connects the New and Old Testament. It is about the promise God made to David and is called the Davidic Covenant. We will also see how God’s plans for our lives are so much better and bigger than anything we could dream.

At the time, David was king over all of Israel. He had won many battles and was taking a rest from war.

2 Samuel 7:1-2 says, “after the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”

David had good motives to move the ark of God into a temple. Nathan the prophet agreed with him. That night Nathan had dream revealing that God had different plans.

2 Samuel 7:4-17 says, But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:

“Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’

“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders[a] over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.

“‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me[b]; your throne will be established forever.’”

17 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.”

What can we learn from this text?

  1. This was not God’s will or His timing. God did not want David to build him a temple at this time. This was going to be done by his son (Solomon). David’s idea was not bad, but he had not consulted God first. God never gave anyone the plans to make a temple, but for the tent (verse 7).
  2. God dwells with His people. He told David that he went with the people (verse 6). God had the people carry the tent wherever they went and He was with them.
  3. God was in charge. He took David from being a shepherd to being a ruler over Israel. God cut off his enemies (verse 8-9).
  4. God had a plan for David now and in the future. He was going to raise up David’s offspring to succeed him as king over Israel, but he was also going to establish his house and kingdom forever. Initially God was talking about Solomon taking over as king after David died. The second part, God was talking about establishing his house through the birth of Jesus Christ. This was the covenant God made with David: that his kingdom would last forever. The New Testament also talks about the covenant. Here are a few of those scriptures.

Matthew 1:1 lists Jesus’ genealogy on Joseph’s side. “This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

In Luke 1:32, the angel was speaking to Mary about Jesus and said, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Romans 1:3 says, “regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life[a] was a descendant of David.”

David did not get what he wanted when he thought about building a house for God. He received something much bigger and better. God made David’s name great with all men, and his kingdom through Jesus Christ lives on forever.

I am so thankful God made this promise with David. The principles above are applicable to our lives now.

  1. God has a perfect plan for our lives. We can pray for anything, and He wants us to pray, but His answer may be a  “yes”, “wait,” or a“no.” He may have something much better for us and we just have not seen it yet.
  2. God dwelt with the Israelites in the tent. The same holds true today. If you are a Christian, God dwells within you through the Holy Spirit and goes with you wherever you go.
  3. God is in charge of our life as He was for David. David started as a shepherd, , and then, over time, made David king. God is in charge of our lives too and will take us on our own journeys based on His will.
  4. God established his kingdom forever through Jesus Christ. We can be a part of Jesus’ kingdom “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9). That salvation guarantees a life with Christ for eternity.

Are you trusting God for His plan for your life? Start praying for His will to be done.

Are you a part of Jesus’ kingdom? Let me know if this is something you want and I will pray for you.

Next week we will finish 2 Samuel and read chapters 11-23. Have a blessed week.

How do you handle conflict?

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

July 24, 2021

This week we finished 1 Samuel and read chapters 21-31. We see a change in David. He went from fearless and dependent upon God, to fearful of Saul. Skip Heitzig has said, “Even the best men are men at best.” And that was David. Even though he was a man after God’s heart, he was only a man.

While he was fearful of Saul, he did have good moments too. We are going to talk about one of those moments and another from a different character, Abigail, and discuss what they have in common. The chapters we are focusing on are 1 Samuel 24 and 25.

In Chapter 24, David and his men were in a cave. Saul came into that cave to go to the bathroom. David had an opportunity to kill Saul and his men actually wanted him to do this. While Saul was in the cave David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. David’s was convicted that he should not kill Saul.

After Saul left, David called out to him. In David’s exchange with Saul, we find that Proverb 15:1, which says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

This is what transpired in verses 8-22. My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. 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 lay my hand on my lord, 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. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am 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? Who 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.”

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 about 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 kill 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.”

You see, David spoke truth to Saul, but in a respectful, kind and loving manner. It softened Saul’s heart.

1 Peter 3:9 says, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

Luke 6:35 says, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”

Another example of a gentle answer turning away wrath was from Abigail in 1 Samuel 25. David and his men had protected a man name Nabel’s sheep and shepherds. When the celebration day of sheep shearing came, David wanted remuneration for their protection. Nabel said in 1 Samuel 25:10, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?”

When David heard this, he was very angry with Nabel and wanted to kill Nabel. Again, David was not perfect here at all.

When Abigail, Nabel’s wife, heard this, she took 200 loaves of bread, 2 skins of wine, 5 dressed sheep, 5 seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and 200 cakes of pressed figs, and with her servants, she brought them to David and his men.

1 Samuel 25:23-35 says, “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: “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. 25 Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent. 26 And now, my lord, as surely as the Lord your God lives and as you live, since the Lord has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal. 27 And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you.

28 “Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. 29 Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord 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 fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, 31 my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.”

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.”

Ten days after this happened, Nabel died. David then asked Abigail to be his wife.

Abigail was very humble when she spoke to David. She spoke truth, but in a respectful manner.

In both of these stories it took a lot of courage to speak the truth in love. It takes a lot of courage for us to do the same when someone has wronged us.

As you can see, it be done, and positive results can come from it.

How do you feel about confrontation? Do you avoid it? Do you confront but with an angry manner?

Or are you like David in the first story and Abigail in the second and become humble and gentle but truthful?

I challenge you to do the same. I will quote Proverbs 15:1 again, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Next week we will read 2 Samuel 1-10. Have a blessed week and let me know how I can pray for you.

Who do you depend on in the battle?

Photo by Maria Pop on Pexels.com

July 17, 2022

This week we read 1 Samuel 11-20. We read that Saul was made king and was king for 42 years. He did not follow God’s commands and lost the Spirit of the LORD that was upon him, and lost his linage of kingship through his children. We also read that David was anointed to be the future king.

Our main focus this week will be in chapters 15 and 16. I heard a sermon by Tim Keller and it inspired me to write this week’s blog.

I want to look at the main characters involved in the story and then ask the question, “Who are you like currently in the story, and who do you want to be like in the future?”

The main characters in the story are King Saul, David, and Goliath. Let’s review the story and look at each character individually.

After Saul was named the king, he was told by the LORD via the prophet Samuel to “attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys” (1 Samuel 15:3).

Saul attacked everyone and everything except “Agag (king of the Amalekites) and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs – everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed” (1 Samuel 15:9).

Because King Saul did not follow the commands of the LORD, the LORD through Samuel said that he would no longer be king. Samuel said, “You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel! As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. Samuel said to him, The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors – to one better than you. He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind” (1 Samuel 15:26-29).

After this, the LORD had Samuel anoint David (a young shepherd) as king. Once he anointed David, “the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power” (1 Samuel 16:13). Even though David had been anointed, he did not become king right away. Remember, Saul was king for 42 years.

Some time after David was anointed, the Philistines and the Israelites gathered for war. The Philistines were on a hill on one side of a valley, and the Israelites were on the hill of the other side. There was a champion soldier from the Philistine’s side named Goliath, and he was “over 9 feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; (125 pounds), on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weight six hundred shekels (15 pounds)” (1 Samuel 16:4-7) Goliath said, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us” (1 Samuel 16:8-10). “On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified” (1 Samuel 16:11). Goliath did this for in the morning and evening for 40 days (1 Samuel 16:16).

Three of David’s brothers were at the site ready for war. David was sent there by his father to give them food. When David heard Goliath’s words, he said to King Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him. Saul replied, You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth. But David said to Saul, Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like on of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear wll deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 16:32-37).

Saul let David go. He tried to have him wear his suit of armor, but David could not wear the items because he was not use to them. So, “David took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine” (1 Samuel 39-40).

After the Philistine saw that David was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, he despised him. Goliath then said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. Come here, he said, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” (1 Samuel 16:44).

David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, who you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head…All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s and he will give all of you into our hands’.” (1 Samuel 16:45-47).

As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground” (1 Samuel 16:50).

We see hear that David did not back down. He ran toward the Philistine, and killed him. The Israelites then went after the Philistines, and won the battle.

Let’s look at the different people in the story.

  1. Saul: He feared Goliath. He was the king who was supposed to lead his people into battle. Saul looked at the Philistine, saw a giant that was too big for him to fight and win, and became fearful. He saw the giant through man’s eyes, and not through God’s eyes.
  2. Goliath: He was a seasoned warrior who was very large and good at what he did. He wore heavy gear to protect him from anything coming at him. He depended on himself because he had all that was needed to win the battle within himself; size, strength, experience, and protective gear.
  3. David: He was small in size and inexperienced on the battlefield. He had faith that God would give him what was needed to win. He used what skill he had to beat Goliath, even though it was different than what was expected.

Who are you most like in the story when difficulties arise?

  1. Are you like Saul, becoming anxious and fearful because the battle seems too large for you to handle so you do nothing? Or you allow someone else to fight the battle for you?
  2. Are you like Goliath and go into battle, but lean on your own strength to fight the battle? You feel you have what it takes, and don’t need the help of others to win.
  3. Are you like David, and are not really equipped alone to fight the battle, but know that God has your back? You know that because God is really the one fighting the battle, he will use whatever skill you have to win. You rely on God.

I have been all three of these people at different times in my life. I want to be like David more often, however. In order to be more like David, I need to remember God is for me, and Jesus is always there with me. Just because I am a Christian does not change the fact that battles will come my way. I know that I will never be alone to fight them. 

Because Jesus has come, if you are a Christian, you have Jesus on your side, and the Holy Spirit living within. He is there to help fight our battles, just like he was there for David. We just need to ask His help and trust that He is always there for us. Hebrews 13:5 says, God has said, “ Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Next week we will finish reading 1 Samuel by reading Chapters 21-31. Please let me know if you have any prayer requests.

God’s Ways Don’t Always Make Sense

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

July 3 2022

This week we read 1 Samuel 1-10. This takes place during the end of the time of judges. We are going to focus on the story of Hannah. I hope this will encourage you.

Elkanah was a Levite, a priest, and had 2 wives; Peninnah (means pearl or rich hair) and Hannah (means grace or favor). Peninnah had many children but according to 1 Samuel 1:2 “Hannah had none.” 1 Samuel 2:5 states, “she who was barren.” 1 Samuel 1:5 says, “the Lord had closed her womb.” Hannah was unable to conceive and this was a result of the LORD.

In those days having children was highly valued. If a woman was unable to have children, she felt shame, or that she had done something wrong or sinned in some way. Hannah felt all of these things. To make matters worse, the other wife of Elkanah had many children and she kept provoking and irritating Hannah because she was barren.

Hannah became sad, and depressed. 1 Samuel 1:7-8 says , “This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted?

Hannah continued to pray year after year for a son. She even said that she would dedicate him to the Lord and not a hair would be cut from his head. 1 Samuel 1:20 says, “So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[b] saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”

1 Samuel 1:24-27 says, After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull,[e] an ephah[f] of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. 25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.”

1 Samuel 3:19-20 says, “19 The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.”

Samuel was a great prophet during that time and he was the person who took the Israelites from having judges to having a king. He anointed Saul and eventually David to become the kings of the Israelites.

After reading about Hannah, I can’t help but think about the times that I have been barren. First, from having difficulty conceiving, and then barren in other ways.

The word “barren” in the Merriam Webster dictionary means, “not reproducing…” offspring, fruit, or vegetation. It also means unproductive results, devoid or lacking.

When my husband and I wanted to have children, I had a miscarriage. It was then difficult to get pregnant. I did not understand and felt abandoned by God.

There were many other times in life when I was barren in other ways, spiritually or physically. I would ask God “why?” and did not always get an answer.  

Think about Hannah and her son Samuel. God had a great plan and purpose for Samuel’s life. He had to be born at just the right time in order to be a great prophet and the one who would anoint the first two kings for the Israelites. Jesus was in the same lineage as king David, so Samuels role at this perfect time was very important.

When Hannah’s womb was closed by God, she did not know the reason’s why, but God did. Her first-born son had to be born at just the right time so that God’s will would be done.

When we are barren (in whatever way), it may be for a specific reason as well. We need to remember that God has a perfect plan for our lives and perfect timing for events. Our barrenness can be turned into blessing.

Are you barren in any way?

I pray that if you are barren, feeling downhearted and sad, that you will pray fervently like Hannah, and trust God with the outcome. He hears your prayers, and has a great plan for your life.

Have a blessed Fourth of July. Next we will read 1 Samuel 11-20.

Resource: Margaret Minnicks

More than a love story.

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

This week we read the book of Ruth. When you first read the book, it seems to be a love story between Boaz and Ruth. It is so much more.

  • The book of Ruth is the only book of the Bible titled after a female who is a gentile and is written by Samuel. It takes place during the time of judges when there was moral and spiritual decline.
  • Ruth was a Moabite. The Moabites were descendants of Lot (whose daughters, thinking their dad was the only male left on the planet, slept with him and then had children; Moab and Ammon [Moabites and Ammonites) (Genesis 19:31-35).
  • There was a lot of strife between the Moabites and the Jews when Ruth was written. The King of Moab invaded and dominated the Israelites for 18 years (Judges 3:14).
  • Ruth was a Moabite woman without children whose Jewish husband died. She loved her mother-in-law Naomi, and decided to stay at her side. They were both widows, and had no money. They moved back to Bethlehem during the barley harvest.
  • Neither worked, and they were poor, so Ruth went to the fields to glean the wheat (farmers would leave the corners of the field open for the poor to collect wheat for free) (Lev 19:9).
  • Boaz, who was from Elimelek’s family, owned and was at the field.
  • Boaz encouraged Ruth to only get wheat from his field and he said he would provide protection.
  • Ruth continued to glean wheat from his field and he showed her favor.
  • After some time, Naomi had Ruth dress up and put on perfume, and lay at the feet of Boaz (this was custom) and asked him to “spread your garment over me.” This meant she wanted him to become the kinsman (guardian) redeemer. According to Leviticus 25:25, “If one of your fellow Israelites becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold.”
  • A kinsman redeemer was a male relative that would rescue another in some way because they were in need or danger and could not rescue themselves.
  • Boaz was this person. He married Ruth. He was wealthy, and what was his was hers and Naomi’s. Ruth and Boaz conceived a boy and named him Obed (Obadiah) which means servant of the Lord. Naomi was happy because her name would live on through Obed, and Ruth was happy being with Boaz and having a son.
  • The prayer of Boaz was answered. (Ruth 2:11-12).  “Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.
  • At the end of the book of Ruth, there is a genealogy. We find that Obed was the father of Jesse, who what the father of King David.
  • In Matthew 1:5, we find that Boaz and Ruth are listed in the genealogy of Jesus, as well.

How is book about more than a love story? It is actually a foreshadowing of Christ.

  • We are like Ruth in the following ways.
    • She is poor, in need of redemption, and can’t do it herself. We are poor in spirit and need redemption and can’t do it ourselves. Romans 3:23-25 “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.
    • The death of Ruth’s spouse caused her to lose her inheritance. Sin ruined our right to our inheritance and causes separation from God. Ephesians 2:1-3 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
  • Jesus is like Boaz in the following ways.
    • He showed favor toward Ruth. Jesus favors us. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
    • He was able to redeem Ruth because he was in the same family. Jesus became like us and was able to redeem us. Ephesians 2:12 “For this reason he had to be made like them,[a] fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”
    • He redeemed her for the price of the land and through his marriage to her. Jesus redeemed us through His blood on the cross. 1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
    • He redeemed her willingly. Jesus redeemed us willingly. Matthew 20:28 “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
    • He restored her inheritance. Jesus restores our inheritance with Him for eternity. 1 Peter 3-5 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Ruth was redeemed by becoming the bride of Boaz. We can be redeemed by becoming the bride of Christ. Have you accepted His invitation to become His bride?

If not, all you have to do is Romans 10:9 “declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Please let me know if you need any prayer or have any questions about the readings.

Next week we will start reading 1 Samuel Chapters 1-10. Have a blessed week!

References: Clarence L. Hayes Jr. & Mark Robinson