Quietly

Psalm 62: 1, 5         NLT

I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.

I hope you are enjoying Psalm Mondays. I am. We are, in a practical way, getting to look particularly at David’s thought life and relationship with God. Today’s verse gives a great insight to David’s success. It also may point out a liability that we deal with in the modern society which David was not hampered by.

David learned to be still, quiet, even silent before God and this is a major part of his success. I often think he learned this very important skill in fields tending sheep. While his big brothers were off fighting in wars, David was stuck keeping watch over the sheep. It is pretty boring out in the field, by yourself at night. In those quiet hours, though, he learned to speak with God and more importantly, to listen. One will never hear God without quiet. Psalm 46: 10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God!” The psalm makes a good point. We will find it difficult, if not impossible, to know Yahweh as God unless we learn to seek Him in the silent times. To know God as God; to have Him show up as God in your life, you have to be able to communicate with Him. If you can hear Him, you can be led, taught, guided and instructed in your everyday life. When we cannot hear Him, He can’t lead us. We need peace and we need to quiet in order to hear God’s voice.

The difference between David’s time and ours is technology. There are so many distractions in our lives. We have televisions, movies, music, computers, etc. David had stars and moonlight; and silence. In that silence he learned to hear God.

We could all do with a little silence. Unlike David, we have to create quiet in our lives. If we really want to have God be God in our lives, we need to wait quietly and patiently before him. That may be a bit of a lost art but worthy of rediscovering. Maybe we need to get some sheep and go live out in the fields with them. If not that, perhaps just setting aside time where we control our internal and external environment. Slow down, quiet down and let God lead you to victory.

Battle Strategy

Psalm 59: 16 – 17

But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, for You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my strength, I will sing praises to You; for God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.

You may need to read the beginning of this psalm to get the full thrust of these last two verses. The backstory is familiar. Saul was in relentless pursuit of David. Saul’s men surrounded, besieged and attacked David and his men. Day and night, there were spies, sneak attacks and ambushes. David tells of the trials and persecutions through the first fifteen verses. At the end he says, “but as for me . . ..” In these last two verses, David reveals his battle plan.

No matter what the enemy’s tactics were; regardless of being outnumbered, trapped or under siege, the battle plan David employed was praise and complete confidence in our Lord. David’s confidence wasn’t just something he held in his breast, though. His faith in the Father was boldly declared from his lips. That is one thing which distinguished him from every other. Perhaps other people thought God was a stronghold and deliverer, but David made a career of proclaiming it.

How about you? Are your words like David’s? Perhaps we too can turn the tide with our words. You know the end of the story. God removed Saul from the throne and installed David in his place. As I have studied David’s life, I noted his continual boasting in the Lord. I think his success was tied to his proclamation. While others count their soldiers and array their weaponry, David installed his stronghold. His plan involved the power of the Almighty, his strategy relying on the promises of his Lord.

It seems, then, that David didn’t have anything we don’t have. That is what makes his story so attractive. We can do what he did. We can love the Lord and trust in His prowess as David did and enjoy the same success. The strategy that prevailed for David will work for us too. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and soul. Lean on Him and His understanding. Make joyful praise to the Lord and let His power arise in your battles.

Promises, Promises

1 Chronicles 1: 9

Now, O Lord God, Thy promise to my father David is fulfilled; for Thou has made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth.

When God made that promise to David it probably seemed as impossible as any of the promises you have read in the Bible. Yet God was able to fulfill all He promised to David. David’s son Solomon bears witness to us that all has been fulfilled in his sight. In other words, we have an eye witness account that God did exactly what He said He would do.

The word “promise” in the above passage is even more accurately translated as “word.” That would make the sentence read, “Thy word to my father David is fulfilled.” I do not find it any coincidence that we call the Bible God’s “word.” To bring this verse forward to each of us, that would mean that God fulfills his word to you. That would include everything that He has said to you in His Word, the Bible. This is a very significant revelation. Just as God fulfilled His word to David, He is obligated to fulfill His word to you. You have an entire book of transcriptions of what God has said to you. Every word in God’s word is His obligation to you.

You should be encouraged, therefore. If God fulfilled His word to David, then He will fulfill His word to you because the Bible says that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10: 34). In other words, He does not favor one child over another. As a matter of fact, the NIV version of Acts 10: 34 says that “God does not show favoritism.” What He was willing to do for one, He is willing to do for all.

Now you put a demand on the promise given you. That is what faith does. Expect God to be good to his word. Expect Him to meet your every need; emotional, physical, financial and spiritual. After all, He is the one that promised. We are just holding Him to His “word.”

Bless the Lord

2 Samuel 7: 1 – 2             NLT

When King David was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all the surrounding enemies, the king summoned Nathan the prophet. “Look,” David said, “I am living in a beautiful cedar palace, but the Ark of God is out there in a tent!”

One of the most outstanding things about David is that God calls him a man after His own heart (Acts 13: 22). When I read passages like this, I understand why. David had God on his mind.

Picture, if you will, David sitting in his palace. He has the finest home in the entire land, not just in Jerusalem, not only in Israel, but as far as the eye can see there is no finer home. He is surrounded by every luxury, the finest clothes drape his body, priceless jewels are plentiful, goblets of gold and a servant for every need. What more could a person want? None the less, David had another want, another desire. While sitting on his throne, he was thinking of Yahweh, his friend and God. Clearly, though, Yahweh had become much more to David than a remote deity. David loved God and love makes you want to do things for the one you love.

God took a young shepherd boy and turned him into a king. God vanquished all his foes and gave him riches beyond measure. So, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did David love and honor God because of all God did for him or did God prosper David because of the love and trust David walked in. I believe it was the latter.

David showed remarkable faith in God’s willingness to deliver him and indeed, all Israel from a young age. Remember how incensed David was that Goliath insulted the God of Israel? There is also a great story from 1 Chronicles. David was to build an altar and make an offering to the Lord. He offered the man that owned the land full price, but the man offered to give David the land and a bull and wheat for the offering. David refused, though, saying that he would not offer to the Lord that which cost him nothing (1 Chronicles 21: 24). Wow! David showed honor and respect for the Lord. And God was faithful to David. They had (and have) a wonderful relationship and when I say God prospered him beyond measure, it is a literal truth. David passed on so much wealth to Solomon that Solomon didn’t even count the silver. There was too much too count so he only concerned himself with the Gold.

So, let me ask you this? Do you ever have the feeling that you too would like to do something for God? What would you do? He doesn’t need a new temple to house the Ark of the Covenant. What is within your power to bless God? I think you might have fun thinking through this. I hope you find something to do for God because I know it will be fun and bring joy to your heart. Have a great day!

Full Recovery

1 Samuel 30: 19

Nothing was missing: small or great, son or daughter, nor anything else that had been taken. David brought everything back.

The Jews have a ideal of peace which I hear ringing out through this verse. They call it “Shalom” and it is a very comprehensive idea, much fuller than our “Christian” idea of what peace encompasses.

The Jewish sense of peace is rich and complete. It has little to do with tranquility and calmness other than that those are the natural outcomes of fullness of peace. I have heard Shalom described as “nothing missing, nothing broken.” I absolutely love that. It blesses my soul and expands my thinking. And blessing really is the right word to be applied here because our Jewish brothers and sisters bless each other in greeting with, “Shalom.” Think of it, every time you are greeted by your Jewish kin they speak blessing over you. The blessing is, “For your life I speak nothing missing, nothing broken.”

The backstory to today’s verse is that the Amalekites invaded the territory of Judah, plundering its wealth and taking women and children as slaves. David’s wives were part of this plunder. Verse six tells us that “David found strength in the Lord his God” so he sought the Lord, our God, asking whether God was with him to go after these heathen Amalekites. The Lord answered, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!” (v. 7). So, David pursued them and recovered everything the enemy stole.

Do you see a parallel here with your own life? Has the enemy stolen from you? Then you, too, should seek the Lord and ask if God is with you. You know the answer in your head, but head knowledge is not what David sought when he inquired of the Lord. We, like David, must be convinced in our hearts that the Lord is with us and that He is our strong right arm, that He will fight our battles and return to us all the enemy stole.

God’s will for us is Shalom; nothing missing, nothing broken. That is the way He made us and that is the life He constructed for us. However, we have an enemy who has wasted our resources and stolen our prized possessions. We should go get what the enemy has stolen. We should make him return everything he has plundered. We would be foolish, besides unsuccessful, if we go upon this raid of the enemy’s camp without first beseeching the Lord. But that the Lord go with us, we should go not. There is no victory apart from the Lord.

God’s will is nothing missing, small or great. Be bold like David but be accompanied by the Lord or else stay home. Don’t let the enemy steal from you. Petition your Father. Hear His words and hearken to them. If He says, “Go,” then go, for He will be with you.

The One Thing

Psalm 51: 11 – 12

Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.

I really had a hard time choosing which verse to send today. This psalm is good right from the beginning. You would really be blessed to read the psalm in its entirety. How could I not choose these two verses, though, especially verse eleven where David writes explicitly about the Holy Spirit.

There are many things which distinguish David from other Biblical personalities, but David’s most unique characteristic is that he knew about the Holy Spirit. There just isn’t much about the Spirit in the Old Testament and those who had a concept still had little experience. Of all the Old Testament writers David stands out for his walk in and with the Spirit. In fact, often I think he is a good example to us of walking with the Spirit.

We see from this passage that David was well aware of God’s presence with Him. He enjoyed an intimate fellowship with the Lord. Consider then the context of this psalm. It was written from a contrite heart seeking forgiveness for what others may have thought unpardonable. This psalm follows upon the heels of David’s affair with Bathsheba and all that entailed. Yet if you read the entire psalm, though contrite, there is evidence of David’s confidence in the Lord’s lovingkindness and His immense capacity for forgiveness. David may have thought his behavior warranted God casting David from His presence but his song and prayer indicate that he understood God’s mercy to be greater than any sin.

David didn’t have Paul to teach him about God’s grace. He didn’t hear Jesus’ sermon on the mount. Where did he learn these deep concepts? I surmise that David learned directly from the Holy Spirit. Though the Spirit had not yet been poured out, he was in the earth. We find in the Old Testament examples of the Spirit alighting on individuals with resultant power and ability manifested in their life. Then the Spirit would, apparently, lift and they would return to their normal abilities. When the Spirit would settle upon an individual they would perform extraordinarily.

David experienced this extraordinary empowerment too but what scintillates about David is the daily walk he enjoyed with the Spirit. There are at least several messages hovering here. I will suggest two, you choose what to ponder today.

The first message is obvious, I think. If people from the Old Testament were supernaturally empowered by the visitation of the Holy Spirit, how much more divine power have we with the Spirit living in us rather than just settling on us from time to time? The second idea is the evidence in this psalm that David had a working relationship with the Spirit of God. While others had little appreciable understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit, David was engrossed in a daily partnership with him. David importuned the Father to restrain from removing the Holy Spirit’s presence with him.

David’s hope was in living in the presence of the Father with the support of the Holy Spirit. Joy and sustenance were in those two elements. It’s really quite beautiful when you think about it. Likewise, for us joy, hope, sustained life and power are found in the presence of divinity. In the world, we strive, powerless against the sin wrought turmoil. In the Spirit, we have life abundantly. David found something, the very something our innermost being seeks. Our search ends in the presence of the Holy Spirit. David said, “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple,” (Psalm 27: 4), and he dedicated his life to doing just that. Let us adopt a similar purpose. Let us say with commitment, “One thing I ask, this I shall seek, to live all my days intertwined with the Holy Spirit.”

Robe’s Edge

1 Samuel 24: 5 – 7

But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.” So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.

There is some good advice here, don’t mess with the Lord’s anointed. The Pharisees should have read this passage. If they had, they wouldn’t have messed with Jesus. Jesus is the anointed one.
I wonder what the rest of the life story was for those who sent Jesus to the cross. Don’t you imagine the seed of their actions grew up and produced a harvest. I bet none of them lived out the number of their years.

We all are anointed in Jesus, every one of us, even those who are not ministers. We carry a piece of his anointing. Although the anointing of Christ is not limited to ministers, I think looking at this group makes it is easier to see the dynamic. Some ministers have a healing anointing more than others. Some are more prone to prophetic utterances while still others move in words of knowledge and words of wisdom. They have all been anointed by the Holy Spirit to work in Jesus’ ministry. Their specific anointing isn’t actually “theirs.” It is Jesus’. He has sent us to carry out his ministry.

I really appreciate David’s respect for the anointing. Though Saul was deranged and clearly not following God’s leading, David still esteemed the office. Saul was chosen by God. At the time this story took place Saul was already in disobedience and God had already chosen David to replace him. Actually, Samuel had even anointed David with oil and proclaimed God’s favor on him as the King. Saul still held the office, though and David would not violate the Lord’s calling of Saul even in light of the passing of the mantle. It appeared God had placed Saul at David’s mercy but that is exactly what David showed Saul, mercy.

What would you have done if Saul had chased you all over the country trying to kill you? I fear what I would have done. Would I have had as much respect for Saul’s calling as David did? I think about that now when I hear people criticize their pastor. It makes me shiver a little, as if a lightning bolt is about to strike. I certainly don’t want the disfavor of God on me because I, in some fashion, attacked His anointed.

I think this verse creates a good pondering point. It’s not uncommon to hear about David’s sin but this story is so strong about the honor David showed God in everything. Yeah, he blew it as we all have, but he withheld his hand and his men when he could have solved his biggest problem with one strike. He honored God’s anointing on Saul more than he cherished his own peace and safety. Amazing!