Not the Human Nature Way

2nd Samuel 1-4

2 Samuel 2 1 NIV

Today our Bible reading begins the book of 2nd Samuel.  It is somewhat an odd name for the book, since Samuel died in 1st Samuel 25 and he will not appear as a character at all in this second book named after him.  Rather, this book is all about David, as king: his rise to power, the growth of his kingdom, his personal weaknesses and sins, as well as the sins and trials of his sons.  But we can remember David’s beginnings – the young shepherd boy God chose to be the one anointed by Samuel to one day replace Saul as king and rule over Israel.  So, while Samuel will not play a part in this book personally, he was the one who acted on God’s behalf to set the stage for David’s performance.

In the same way, your story today was shaped by many who went before you.  Perhaps they spoke God’s words over you, as Samuel did over David, to shape you into who you are and what you do today.  Their names are written all over your book, even if they aren’t with you today.

Don’t miss the opportunity you have to be a Samuel for a young David.  Pour God’s spirit on the young minds and hearts of those who will be the Christian fathers and mothers and pastors and Sunday School teachers and youth leaders of the next generation.  Encourage them.  Mentor them.  Let them know that even when they feel they will always be the least in their family and community that God can raise them up for works for Him.  And in this way your story will last into the future.

Your sphere of influence is much wider – and longer – than you realize.

As David was poised here on the edge of a new chapter in his life, I am certain he remembered where it all started.  He remembered Samuel and the day that changed the trajectory of his life.  He remembered playing his harp for King Saul.  He remembered the day he slew the giant with a stone.  He remembered how his popularity grew as God gave great success in his exploits against the enemy Philistines.  He remembered Saul’s jealousy and rage.  He remembered the ten long years of fleeing from the king who wanted to kill him, even though David remained loyal to him.

And, now King Saul is dead.  What will David do?  He has a golden opportunity to seize the day and the power and make himself king by force.  No longer needing to fear Saul he can safely trash talk the dead king and let bitterness over ten lost years control his emotions and decisions.  He could.  But he doesn’t.

Instead, he truly mourns the loss of the king and his 3 sons.  He writes a beautiful song of lament, speaking of Saul and Jonathan’s might and splendor and the great loss faced now with their death.  Others expect him to celebrate Saul’s death (and reward the messenger who claimed to have a part in it).  It would be natural to, since Saul had treated David so poorly time and time again.  It would be normal to, since Saul’s death now paved the way for him to set up his own rule as king.  But, David rose above what was natural and normal.  Rather than letting human nature rule, he acted in a way deserving of the title “Man after God’s Own Heart”.  He rose above revenge, and in so doing became a man that others wanted to follow.

Rather than making rash, though natural and normal, human decisions, “David inquired of the Lord.” (2 Samuel 2:1).  Should he return to his homeland, Judah?  If so, where?  God answered, “Yes, Hebron.”  So, David went.  In his last ten years he seems to have learned a thing or two about relying on God’s timing and answers rather than striking out on his own human reasoning and inclinations.

How are you doing at inquiring of the Lord?  Not reverting to natural, normal human behavior and bitterness? Rising above revenge?  Honoring those God put in authority, even when we don’t agree with them?  Having a heart of mourning for what God mourns?  Being a person of God that others want to follow?  Being a Samuel for a young generation of Davids?   Today is a great day to strive to be a man or woman after God’s Own Heart?

 

Marcia Railton

 

Today’s reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Samuel+1-4&version=NIV

Tomorrow we will be reading more of the Psalms – 6, 8-10,14, 16,19 & 21 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Faithful

Numbers 31-32

Numbers 32 18

In the second half of Numbers, we have seen plenty of dissatisfaction from the people of Israel. Even Moses was fed up with the complaining of the Israelites. As his life was drawing to a close, he had no patience for any more unfaithfulness. So when the tribes of Reuben and Gad requested to take their homes before crossing the Jordan, he assumed the worst. As it turned out, at least in this instance, these tribes had their hearts in the right place. They were actually satisfied with what they already saw, and God honored their request.
Moses’ reaction is understandable given what he has gone through with Israel. After forty years of wandering and waiting to enter Canaan, a request to not enter the land would have been foolish. Similarly, if Reuben and Gad failed to fight alongside their brother tribes, it would have constituted treachery. But the tribes were merely asking the Lord to provide, not complaining about what they didn’t have. And they did prove faithful to their commitment to fight throughout the campaign in Canaan.
For Reuben, Gad, and a segment of Manasseh, the battle began early. They drove out the enemy, an important requirement for faithfully claiming the land. They even changed the names of the cities to remove the stigma of false gods as well as the people who worshiped them.
What Moses originally suspected as a sinful act became a breath of fresh air in the book of Numbers. Where others had complained, these tribes asked from the Lord. Where others served their own interests, these tribes were willing to leave their families in order to serve their brothers. And where others were drawn to false gods and foreign worship, these tribes drove out the enemy. The key difference was faith. These tribes trusted the Lord to give generously to meet their needs, and that faith produced obedience in their hearts and deeds. Even when Israel seemed desperate or disappointing, God was always in complete control. He doesn’t get overwhelmed by anything, even disobedience. Remember that as your faithfulness waivers or your situation worsens, God’s love and faithfulness remains. When you feel like a failure or threatened by anything at all, know that God’s grace is sufficient, and His faithfulness is assured. Your circumstances will change, but your God will not.
Andy Cisneros
Today’s reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+31-32&version=NIV
Tomorrow’s reading will be Numbers 33-34 as we start the 11th week of the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan