Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 17 May 18:
1. 2 Samuel 5:10 — “And David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him.” David was successful because the LORD enabled it. Success is in the hands of God.
2. 2 Samuel 5:12 — “David knew that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.” It’s not about you.
3. 2 Samuel 5:20 — “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me like a breaking flood.” David was successful while he was going to the LORD for instruction and following God’s lead. God even gave David specific details as to how to be successful. (2 Samuel 5:17:25) During that time, David publicly gave God the credit for his successes.
4. 2 Samuel 6:5 – “And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.” There was a great celebration, right up to the point where The Lord’s anger kindled and He struck down Uzzah. True worship is not about great songs and much display; it is about a reverent, obedient heart.
5. 2 Samuel 6:6, 7 — Uzzah assumed that his sinful hand was cleaner than the ground. He had no business being anywhere near the Ark, and he died “because of his error.”
6. 2 Samuel 6:8 — “And David was angry because the LORD had broken out against Uzzah.” David was angry at God because God killed Uzzah, but ultimately it was David’s fault as the leader. David set Uzzah up for failure. David led is men in flagrant violation of God’s laws concerning the handling of the ark in accordance with the holiness of God. The Ark of the Covenant was most Holy, God’s throne, and God was “above it” (Lev 16:2). The Ark was kept in the Most Holy Place in the temple where only the High Priest could enter, and only after much ceremonial cleansing. God gave very strict regulations for transporting the Ark. When the ark was moved, it was covered with at least 3 layers of cloth by the priests to protect others from seeing it (Num 4:5-6, 15, 18-20); the priests/Levites carried it and everyone else had to stay about a thousand yards away (Josh 3:4). These laws enforced the concept of God’s holiness: sinful people couldn’t be in his presence, not even the high priest. In his rush to receive the Ark, perhaps to reinforce his own power, David broke all of God’s regulations. Following David’s lead, Uzzah died from carelessly handling the Ark (1 Samuel 6:19). When God held Uzzah accountable for his complacency, David became angry with God rather than taking responsibility for his poor leadership. Perhaps, David did not know he was breaking God’s commands concerning the Ark, but ignorance is no excuse for a leader. Bad leadership hurts others.
7. 2 Samuel 6:9 — “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?” When your desire for God is all about “me” you miss the mark.
8. 2 Samuel 6:13, 14 — “And when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod.” All of this was unnecessary. All they had to do was obey the laws of Exodus 25. God desires obedience, not extravagant religious ceremony and sacrifice.
9. 2 Samuel 6:16-23 — The marriage between Michal and David was never based on love and devotion. Michal had love for another and despised David. David’s pride caused great pain. The relationship was never right.
10. 2 Samuel 6:20 — “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” Michal knew David’s prideful heart.
11. 2 Samuel 6:23 — “And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.” Deep seated resentment destroys marriages.
12. Proverbs 17:1 – “Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” God does not want us to work so much that we lose our joy or let stress affect our relationships.
13. Proverbs 17:3 — “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts.” God uses hard times to show you what you are really made of. He already knows.
14. Proverbs 17:9 — “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” Love covers over offenses and seeks unity in Christ.
15. Proverbs 17:14 — “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.” In most cases, no one really wins an argument.
16. Proverbs 17:16 – “Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom when he has no sense?” Wisdom is the key to success in life, not circumstances, resources, talents, or knowledge.
17. Proverbs 17:20 – “A man of crooked heart does not discover good, and one with a dishonest tongue falls into calamity.” A good life is cultivated by a good heart.
18. Proverbs 17:27, 28 — Wise people are even-keeled and not easily angered.
19. 1 Corinthians 11:1 – “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” We should be examples to others by imitating Christ, acting exactly like Jesus.
20. 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 — Customs and courtesies are often helpful visual reminders and acts of respect for the system of social order established by God. They speak to positional authorities and responsibilities, not to personal worth or value. Many honorable captains have saluted less honorable majors out of respect for the position, despite the person. God commands us to honor our fathers and mothers, not because they are always right, but because their position demands it. God does not call us to be contentious against rules of social order. However, customs and courtesies must never supersede God’s specific commands.
21. 1 Corinthians 11:3 — “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” Jesus is just as much God as the Father and equally worthy of honor, praise, and worship; yet He remains subordinate to the Father positionally. Likewise, wives are called to subordinate to husbands, but are not any less valued or less used by God.
22. 1 Corinthians 11:10 — “That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.” The Bible explains that marriage is intended to be a visible symbol/reminder/metaphor of the love relationship between Christ and the Church. (Eph 5) Head coverings were intended to be a part of that symbology.
23. 1 Corinthians 11:11 — “Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman.” Again, the man and woman are equally important and interdependent, though they have different roles and responsibilities ordained by God.
24. 1 Corinthians 11:17 – “But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.” In your relationships, are you making things better or worse? Are you reconciling or causing greater division?
25. 1 Corinthians 11:19 – “…for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.” Some division is inevitable due to sin, but Christians must be true to God while continually seeking, from a heart of love, to bring others closer to that truth, not allowing their own sinful behavior to stand in the way.
26. 1 Corinthians 11:22 – “What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.” In our worship, we should naturally be placing others ahead of ourselves, from the heart. Leaders of love do not have to be reminded to eat last.
27. 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 — Jesus broke bread even with Judas, who he never kicked out of the group. Judas accepted the gift in an unworthy manner. We must continually offer peace and grace to sinners, regardless of what they do with it (which is their responsibility, not ours). We must continually search our own hearts to consider what we have done with God’s grace.
28. 1 Corinthians 11:32 — “But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.” The Lord disciplines His people in painful ways within His grace. Grace saves us but doesn’t remove the demand for obedience of which we are still accountable.
29. 1 Corinthians 11:33 — “So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.” Again, leaders eat last. Worship puts everyone else ahead of self.
30. 1 Corinthians 11:34 – “…if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment.” If your heart is not right for the situation, best to remove yourself from the situation rather than add to your sin or misrepresent Christ before others. For example, when you start to become emotional during a disagreement, remain silent rather than say the wrong thing. Don’t let your lack of self-control impact others in a negative way. As we continually partake in God’s grace, we must always offer grace to others and put them over ourselves.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 17 May: Deny your rights, overlook insults, put sinners before yourself, and speak to others in a way that promotes healing and reconciliation, opening the way to the preaching of the gospel. Do this as an act of worship and in gratitude for the grace that you have received from God. Reference from today’s readings: 1 Corinthians 11:34. Listen to others to truly understand them. Do not worry about making them understand you. Listen empathetically, seeking to promote love, unity, healing, and joy. Practice 1 Corinthians 13 love in your conversations today. Put everyone else ahead of yourself; submit to all authority, even if those in authority seem less mature than you (submission can be an act of leadership); obey God’s commands. (1 Corinthians 11)