May 16

1 Samuel 18:5-19:24

Four times in this chapter we read of David behaving wisely (1 Samuel 18:5, 14, 15, 30). May God give us that grace, to do the same, to be wise guys and gals in this “war” we’re in. Like David we really are God’s soldiers (2 Timothy 2:3-4).

Saul saw the wisdom and anointing upon David and set him over the men of war. This anointing was obvious to everyone – so much so that the ladies sang that song, and danced that dance:

1 Samuel 18:7 (NKJV) “So the women sang as they danced, and said: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.’”

Now, I’m not saying that that was the best song to sing (I don’t like it when people do comparisons) but Saul should have rejoiced in David’s success. He was winning battles for the Lord, and for Israel, what a blessing to have him on his team! But Saul just couldn’t get to that place he needed to be, a place of true and total repentance, a place of right relationship with God. I believe if Saul got his heart right, God would have shown him mercy. Imagine the dream-team they could have had with Saul, Jonathan, and David, all led by the Lord!

But Saul let the jealousy and envy, the fear and insecurities, completely consume him. Saul hated David, and had it in his heart to kill David. He came up with numerous plans, he even tried to spear him while David was playing music to soothe Saul. Jonathan tried to convince his father of David’s loyalty and it worked for a brief moment, but Saul had opened doors to demons, and there is no way we can defeat demons without the Spirit of God. Again, Saul tried to kill David, he sent troops to arrest him, even after he had married his daughter, it made no difference…we read those tragic words in:

1 Samuel 18:29 (NKJV) “…and Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul became David’s enemy continually.”

David fled to Samuel and they both fled to Naioth. It’s definitely a different type of defense when we read how every team that went after them, prophesied every time. These were “bad guys” out to get David, how could they possibly prophesy? But it’s just the mercy and grace of God, trying to “arrest” them on the road to “Damascus.” If only they had listened to God’s love and the way He even overpowered them when they were pursuing only evil.

John 8:31-59

When Jesus speaks of abiding in His Word as a condition of being His disciple, He’s speaking of the Scriptures as a whole, and the message He was given by His Father to deliver to the world. This “Word,” sets us free from the letter of the law, it sets us free from the bondage of sin…the truth truly does make us free.

Once again the Jewish leaders interpreted it only physically. Jesus wasn’t speaking of political or geographical freedom, He was speaking of spiritual freedom. I still remember the day I got saved, and the freedom I was granted from the bondage of drugs, alcohol, sexual immorality, and even religion. Prior to that truth reaching my heart I was in chains to it all and had no option to “stop,” but now I’m free, I have been given the freedom to obey God.

The Jewish leaders couldn’t understand, because they did not want to believe, they did not know God. If they had a relationship with the Father, they would have embraced His Son. As a matter of fact, Jesus informs them that their father was the Devil. They were doing the deeds of the devil (it was in their DNA) who after the fall, naturally and automatically lies and murders. It’s fascinating as you read through these chapters and see how they wanted to kill Jesus from early on, and everyone knew it, but they wouldn’t admit it (John 5:16, 18; 7:1, 19, 25). They were slaves to sin, they were slaves to Satan; they had a heart to do what the Devil did – murder – and lie about it.

It’s amazing to me, here they were, having a conversation (an argument) with God in the flesh, and because they were completely filled with so much pride, they not only resist the truth, but they accuse Jesus of having a demon (twice)!

Sometimes the Holy Spirit will point out my sin – point blank. My pride and so many other areas of my life. If I’m wise, I will immediately humble myself and yield to His analysis (apart from God I’m warped, wretched, and wicked). We all fall short, every day, in many ways. These religious leaders, however, were not open to God’s analysis, to God’s offer of life, His promise of victory over death. Jesus said:

John 8:51 (NKJV) “Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”

AGAIN they’re thinking only physically, while Jesus is speaking spiritually. So they accuse Him of having a demon – was He greater than Abraham who died physically?

Since they mentioned Abraham, Jesus let them know that Abraham rejoiced to see “His day” and they should have rejoiced too! (probably a reference to Genesis 14:17-20).

They objected.

John 8:57–58 (NKJV) “Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’ 58 Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’”

Jesus was not just older than Abraham, He existed before Abraham, He was the maker of Abraham. Clearly Jesus claimed to be God, so they wanted to kill Him…for telling the truth.

Psalm 112:1-10

I love the way this Psalm stands out (this is one of those verses to memorize).

Psalm 112:1 (NKJV) “Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who delights greatly in His commandments.”

Do you want to be blessed? Of course we do, we should therefore cultivate a healthy fear of the LORD.

The only valid fear is that fear, when we fear God and have that heart to obey His Word, we will not be afraid of “bad” news, or as the Psalmist puts it, “evil tidings,” (Psalm 112:7) our heart will be steadfast.

This Psalm lists the way such people will be blessed and some of their characteristics.

Blessed in family, in provision, with salvation (that’s a big one), with light, with stability, with victory over one’s enemies. The person who fears the LORD and longs to live God’s Word will be imputed with the righteousness of Christ forever and ever (Psalm 112:9; Romans 10:4).

This person will be gracious, compassionate, and righteous – both positionally and practically. This person will be generous and wise, will disperse abroad, and give to the poor.

Our haters will throw tantrums at the sight of us being blessed, experiencing this abundant life, but it’s there for us to enjoy, the life of those who fear God, love God, and long to obey Him.

Proverbs 15:12-14

V. 12 – We see this over, and over, and over again (repeated so we won’t be defeated). Don’t just welcome correction, LOVE correction

The scoffer doesn’t love God or the Word of God and he therefore avoids the counsel of the people of God. But if we’re wise, we should seek advice from “straight-shooters,” from those who love us enough to tell us the truth.

We need to make sure we’re not like King Ahab who hated God’s prophet:

1 Kings 22:8 (NKJV) “So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.’ And Jehoshaphat said, ‘Let not the king say such things!’”

V. 13 – The phrase “merry heart” is only found four times in the Bible – three times in the book of Proverbs, and twice in this chapter (we’ll see it again in Proverbs 15:15)

In Proverbs 17:22 the Bible says a merry heart does good like medicine – in other words a joyful heart, a whole and holy heart for God, benefits us and others. It’s spiritual – it’s medicinal, it cheers us up (Proverbs 12:25).

I think sometimes we’re too solemn or serious (we’re not ticklish). I think a merry heart has to do with a joyful heart, but I also believe it has to do with a sense of humor.

The word countenance can be translated “face” – so a merry heart puts a smile on our face, or the face of others. I’m so grateful for those who cheer themselves and others up; there are many who need to lighten up.

But then there’s the other side of the coin, and I guess we’re all able to do either or, uh? They say, “Misery loves company.” And we saw this earlier, such a heavy thing when, “…the spirit is broken.”

V. 14 – I remember that bumper sticker back in the day about Calvary Chapel, it said, “…where the sheep are fed.” Pastor Chuck used to say that he wanted the people of Calvary Chapel to be the most loved and best fed sheep in the world.

What we discover is that we’re all hungry on the inside – the only question is what are we seeking for supper? What are we feeding on? Am I hungry for the good Word, or do I prefer junk food and therefore feed on foolishness.

After all…we are what we eat!

The average American feeds on 10 hours of media per day, 2 hours of Social Media, and 34 hours of television (on average) per week (that almost an entire work week!) Wow!

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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