Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 24 June 18:
1. 1 Chronicles 11:3 – “And they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the Lord by Samuel.” The Israelites elected the king God had already chosen. They chose him because he was clearly chosen by God. A nation that chooses to honor God above all else will elect godly leaders and receive the natural blessings the come from god-honoring choices. A nation that does not honor God as God will receive the consequences of the ungodly leaders they raise up.
2. 1 Chronicles 11:6 — “’Whoever strikes the Jebusites first shall be chief and commander.’ And Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, so he became chief.” David made the common mistake of choosing a leader simply because of his competency and ability to get things done rather than his character, loyalty, and trustworthiness. Joab was a mighty warrior but he was also deceitful, ruthless, and self-serving.
3. 1 Chronicles 11:9 — “And David became greater and greater, for the Lord of hosts was with him.” Your success depends on God’s presence in your life. He won’t walk away from you; be careful not to walk away from Him.
4. 1 Chronicles 11:10 — “Now these are the chiefs of David’s mighty men, who gave him strong support in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the Lord concerning Israel.” Good leaders must be surrounded by mighty men, dedicated to God and skilled at what they do.
5. 1 Chronicles 11:12 — “You shall be shepherd of my people Israel.” Leaders are to be shepherds of the weak and defenseless, leading them to where they need to go and protecting them. The One Shepherd is Jesus; human leaders must be following Jesus in order to lead others where they need to go. Stray from Jesus, and you are leading others astray.
6. 1 Chronicles11:17-19 — “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 took it and brought it to David. But David would not drink it. He poured it out to the Lord and said, ‘Far be it from me before my God that I should do this. Shall I drink the lifeblood of these men? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.’ Therefore he would not drink it. These things did the three mighty men.” Leaders, be careful not to focus inward in your weakness. Be careful what you ask for, your followers will ware themselves out to get it for you. Consider carefully your displayed emotions and every word that comes out of your mouth so that you don’t unintentionally mislead your followers. If you remain a faithful ambassador for Christ, not representing your own interests, you will be a good leader.
7. 1 Chronicles 12:16 — “If you have come to me in friendship to help me, my heart will be joined to you; but if to betray me to my adversaries, although there is no wrong in my hands, then may the God of our fathers see and rebuke you.” Oneness with God involves faithfulness to God, obedience. God rebukes disobedience and infidelity. Nearness to God is not about physical distance; it is about spiritual distance, how close you are to Him and His will. Today, many people desire unity, but people cannot have lasting unity unless they are all first united to Jesus. The closer people get to Jesus, the closer they get to each other and their unity is firmly grounded in the rock of Truth, Peace, Justice, and Security.
8. I Chronicles 12:38 — “Likewise, all the rest of Israel were of a single mind.” Organizations of any kind generate power through unity of vision, unity of effort, and unity of action. When that focus and unity is dedicated to God’s will, that organization is unstoppable. Disunity among God’s people causes weakness and failure. Logically, the closer everyone in a group is to Jesus, the closer they are to each other. When there is disunity and dissention, someone, or everyone, is not close enough to Jesus. Check your own proximity.
9. Proverbs 24:1 — “Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them.” Don’t partner with the world or get wrapped up in the worries of the world. You can engage the world, and interact with the world (which we are commanded to do) without partnering with the world.
10. Proverbs 24:10 — “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Inner strength is something you must develop before you need it. When adversity comes, it reveals the product of your discipleship. On the day of adversity, you will draw upon the internal strength that you have developed over time. If you haven’t cultivated strength through daily discipleship, you will fail at the test. God uses adversity to reveal the truth of you.
11. Proverbs 24:11, 12 — “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” You cannot ignore the destructive sin of those around you — God expects you to get involved. If allow those around you who God loves continue to destroy themselves in sin, God will hold you accountable.
12. Proverbs 24:16 – “…for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.” Both the righteous and the wicked stumble and fall, but the righteous get back up stronger than before while the wicked only get weaker.
13. Proverbs 24:25, 26 — “Those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them. Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.” Always speak the truth in love.
14. Proverbs 24:27 — “Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.” Do the hardest things first.
15. Psalm 73:2-3 — “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked…. But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.” Comparing yourself to others who are not disciples can lead you astray. Also, If we view life from our own perspective rather than from the perspective of God’s word, our outlook can become bitter, hopeless, and, consequently, sinful. This is why Proverbs warns, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5, 6) If we forget the power, love, and faithfulness of the God we serve, the storms we face may seem to be the end of us, and we may find ourselves like the disciples crying out to Jesus “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38) Today, the psalmist points out that worldly perspective almost caused him to “stumble” or “slip” into sin. He recollects that as he watched the wicked apparently thrive while he suffered for obeying God he became “brutish and ignorant,” as ignorant as an animal that only responds to pain and pleasure rather than to wisdom. (Psalm 73:22) Have you ever felt that way? What was the psalmist’s answer for times like this? Go to the sanctuary of God, and align your thinking to God’s thinking — “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live…. Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah 55:1-13) Jesus said it like this: “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light…. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full…. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (Matthew 11:27-29; John 15:11; John 16:24) Do not stumble or slip, “Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21)
16. Psalm 73:5 — “They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.” Outward appearances of success can be a deceptive. Faithfulness to God is the measure of success.
17. Psalm 73:9 — “They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth.” Prideful people have little real respect for God. The more “successful” they become, the more arrogant they become.
18. Psalm 73:12 — “This is what the wicked are like — always carefree, they increase in wealth.”
– “Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, ‘How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?'” (Psalm 73:9-11) The message of the world is very appealing to those who want to build their own kingdom on earth. As countless bestselling self-help books explain, “By unleashing your personal power, you can achieve health, wealth and happiness – nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities. Be all you can be.” Solomon, in all his wisdom, fell victim to this self-centered world view (idolatry) and achieved “worldly” success beyond imagination; but eventually, he came to understand that you cannot love and serve both God and the world. You cannot be loyal to two kingdoms which are diametrically opposed to one another. After having achieved it all and done it all (while compromising his fidelity to the Lord), he concluded that it was all “Meaningless, meaningless, meaningless!” Our purpose is to “Glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Anything else is pointless. Often, people will seek to build their earthly kingdom using God and religion as a source of power. “Dear Lord, please bless my kingdom, and I will be a good person and tell the world what you have done for me.” However true spirituality and worship is to “offer [ourselves] as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God,” living by the motto, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
– 1 John 3:1 — “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
– Psalm 84:10 — “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”
– James 2:5 — “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?”
19. Psalm 73:16-17 — “But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.” You must see the world through God’s perspective; from man’s perspective, things don’t make sense and seem unfair or pointless.
20. Psalm 73:22 — “I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.” Without spiritual discernment, you are not much better than an animal, responding only to urges, physical desires, and emotion.
21. Psalm 73:23-26 — “Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” You must walk with God. Though you may not receive much comfort in this world, your reward is in Heaven.
22. Psalm 73:27-28 — “For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” Again, nearness to God is measured in faithfulness. It is good to be near God. Make God your refuge and your life’s goal.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 24 June 18: Hold God’s hand today and let Him lead you as your perfect, loving Father. (Psalm 73:27-28)