Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 26 May 18:
1. 2 Samuel 23:1, 2 – “Now these are the last words of David… ‘The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me;
his word is on my tongue.’” Will your last words be about God, from God?
2. 2 Samuel 23:2 — “The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; His word is on my tongue.” The Bible is the inspired (God-breathed) word of God given to men to record. We were created by God in the physical form for the express purpose of translating (through word and deed) His Spiritual truth and will into the physical world for His purposes and for His glory. When David operated in the Spirit, he performed His purpose. As stated previously, Jesus only spoke and did what the Father told him to say and do. He is our example. We should seek to do the same.
3. 2 Samuel 23:3, 4 — “When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.” God called us to be the primary influence on earth. To govern world affairs through our influence that “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It is impossible to rightly govern world affairs, a household, or any situation apart from a “fear of the Lord” and the power of the Holy Spirit. When Christians obey God, and influence others to obey God, they are the light of the world, and they promote life.
4. 2 Samuel 23:5 — ”For does not my house stand so with God?” Is your house a house of God?
5. 2 Samuel 23:6, 7 — “But worthless men are all like thorns that are thrown away, for they cannot be taken with the hand; but the man who touches them arms himself with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they are utterly consumed with fire.” Some people will refuse to accept the authority of God or the truth of God’s word. You will not be able to convince them because they have rejected the conviction of the Holy Spirit. In their rebellion, they have rendered themselves worthless, and they will only destroy themselves and influence others to follow the path of destruction. We will face inevitable conflict with such people as we seek to promote God’s will on earth and as they seek to counter it. We must resist evil and counter the influence of evil people, but we must never condemn those trapped in evil, always praying and hoping for their salvation, not knowing what God might do with them.
6. 2 Samuel 23:8 — “These are the names of the mighty men whom David had….” God ensured that the names of the faithful were recorded for eternity. Their reward was eternal.
7. 2 Samuel 23:12 — “But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the Lord worked a great victory.” The faithful are willing to face impossible odds, trusting God with the outcome, which is hope.
8. 2 Samuel 23:15-17 — “And David said longingly, ‘Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!’ Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the Lord and said, ‘Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?’” David reflects on several leadership lessons in these verses. First, leaders must be very careful not to communicate in a self-centered way to others, even casually. Second, all good leaders are first great followers, willing to do whatever it takes to be obedient and to obey their leader — our leader is Jesus who always seeks the perfect will of the Father. Finally, leaders must never put their own desires ahead of the needs of others. David refused to drink water that was not available to his troops. Leaders take care of themselves last. This, of course, is contrary to the example of worldly leadership. Do our politicians have more or less than those they presume to lead? Does your pastor have a bigger or smaller house than those with his congregation? Did Jesus have more or less than those who walked with him day by day? Note that coincident with the fall of David was his pursuit of materialism and comfort.
9. 2 Samuel 23:39 — Uriah the Hittite was one of David’s mighty men. Uriah’s character, competence, and fidelity did not prevent him from becoming a victim in the worse possible way. His integrity did not guarantee His security. However, his reward is eternal. If our motivation or incentive for fidelity is earthly reward, we do not have real fidelity, we are deceiving ourselves, and we will be sorely disappointed. Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, was murdered by David who had taken from him the one thing he cared most about on this earth, his wife. Yet, God directed David, Uriah’s murderer, to list Uriah in the honor roll of the faithful. Within God’s eternal, public record, David’s secret sin has been exposed as has the fidelity of David’s victim. Only through complete humility, a total reliance and faith in the grace of God, and complete surrender could David write the name, Uriah.
10. 2 Samuel 23:1 — “Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, ‘Go, number Israel and Judah.’” This is a difficult Bible verse to understand, an apparent contradiction in God’s word. Did God really force David to sin? 1 Chronicles 21:1 says, “Now Satan [rather than God] stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.” And James 1:13 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” Simply stated, Satan does the tempting, and at times, God allows the temptation in order to expose the truth of people’s hearts. The Father allowed the temptation of Jesus by Satan in the desert to expose the truth of Jesus’s heart. Jesus was tempted externally by Satan, but He was not tempted internally, proving to be wholly faithful. On the contrary, God allowed Satan to tempt David, and David was tempted externally by Satan and internally within his own heart, exposing the pride that remained in both him and the Israelites. In fact, there was nothing sinful about conducting a census, God had directed it before. What was sinful was not the conduct of the census but rather David’s motivation for conducting a census. God fully knew David’s heart and the sinful pride of the people, but they could not see it in themselves, so God had to expose it. So, when David wanted to conduct a census for all the wrong reasons, God essentially said, “Do what is on your heart,” turning David over to His own sinful desires that he would face the consequences. Both David and the Israelites are soon to get a God smack and learn a lesson.
11. 2 Samuel 24:3 — “Why does my lord the king delight in this thing?” What was wrong with numbering the troops? Census-taking under the Law of Moses was not inherently evil. In fact, God actually commanded Moses to number the Israelite soldiers on two different occasions—once in the second year after deliverance from Egyptian bondage, and again about forty years later near the end of Israel’s wanderings in the desert (Numbers 1:1-3,19; 26:2-4). It was wrong in David’s case because of the motives behind the action. David was measuring his might in pride as if Israel’s strength was a sign of his greatness rather than God’s. God will not share the glory. It is interesting that ruthless, prideful, Joab could see the sin David could not see. Joab, yes, Joab, tried to convince David not to do this thing, but David would not listen. Have you ever been blinded by pride this way? What were the consequences?
12. 2 Samuel 24:10, 11 — “But David’s heart struck him after he had numbered the people. And David said to the Lord, ‘I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have done very foolishly.’ And when David arose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer.” In 2 Samuel 23, David received and recorded the direct word of God. However, now in his guilt, David could only feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit but could not hear God’s word. This time, God spoke to David through a prophet.
13. 2 Samuel 24:11-16 — Repentance doesn’t mean you will escape God’s discipline. God’s discipline is not a form of revenge but rather God’s chisel to shape a hard heart. The amount of discipline required depends upon the hardness of the heart. True repentance accepts God’s discipline without resentment.
14. 2 Samuel 24:12 — “Thus says the LORD, Three things I offer you. Choose one of them, that I may do it to you.” Within His Sovereignty, God gives us freedom to choose, and He accomplishes His will regardless of our choices.
15. 2 Samuel 24:16 — God does show mercy in discipline.
16. 2 Samuel 24:17 — Other people do suffer because of your sins. Though God allows this suffering, it is not unjust. All are deserving of eternal death. In his discipline, God simply applies less grace to those who justly deserve none. And, He promises to bring all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. In discipline, even discipline unto death, one should remain grateful that any grace remains.
17. 2 Samuel 24:24 — “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” True love is a true sacrifice.
18. 2 Samuel 24:25 — God honors your prayer of intercession for the sufferings of others when you repent and obey Him.
19. Proverbs 26:3 — “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools.” Animals lack moral attributes and only operate in the mode of stimulus-response. They seek comfort and avoid pain. Animals are motivated primarily by fear and a survival instinct. Humans that are not led by the Spirit and love essentially relegate themselves to the level of an animal. In fact, our popular “science” today now assumes we are nothing more than a higher form of animal, a descendant of the lower forms. Those who act like animals will be treated like animals by God. Even many Christians act like animals, approaching God merely to receive His blessings and to avoid His curses. They are like dogs who want treats and want avoid discipline. God wants His people to move past mere animal-like instincts into the spiritual realm, to approach Him in love, to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
20. Proverbs 26:12 — “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied. If you think you have wisdom, you are in big trouble. Wisdom can only come from God, and God says His thoughts are infinitely removed from yours. Wisdom only comes through revelation, not through human reason. Revelation only comes through the Holy Spirit working through much prayer and God’s word. Do you want to know what you should do? You must pray, pour into God’s word, walk in obedience, and listen for that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.
21. Proverbs 26:18-28 — Jesus said that we will be held accountable for EVERY careless word that comes out of our mouths. Our words have power, either impacting others in a positive way or a negative way. Jesus said that He only spoke what the Father told Him to speak which is what we are called to do too. If our words are not the product of the Spirit, they are ungodly and wrong, sinful. If you aren’t speaking on behalf of Jesus, keep your mouth shut. If there is any agenda behinds your words, that agenda had better be the Great Commission, the Great Commandment, and the mission of reconciliation.
22. Psalm 61:8 — “So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day.” True love for God causes you to praise Him and obey Him.
23. Psalm 61:8 — Worship God, not just in song, ceremony, or sacrifice, but, more importantly, it is shown in humility and fidelity. Worship not just in spirit but in “truth,” in deed. Decisions without action are lies to self and to God. Integrity comes from follow-through.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 26 May 16: Examine the motives behind your actions today. Why do you do what you do? You could be doing the right things for the wrong reasons, sinning against God in your apparently good deeds because of selfish motives. You may be motivated by fear, pride, ego, or a sense of duty, but above all of these, God wants you to motivated by selfless love. How many of your decisions are wholly selflessly loving? Of course, our motives are never wholly pure in love as we are not yet perfected in love through our sanctification. But make pure love your goal, search your heart, and pray that God will help you grow in pure love, which is closer fellowship with Him, The God who IS love (2 Samuel 24) “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3)